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Task force releases 'Roadmap to a Healthier Minnesota'

The Minnesota Health Reform Task Force voted last week to endorse the Roadmap to a Healthier Minnesota, including its recommendations for how to increase access to high quality care at lower cost. The report outlines eight strategies for policymakers to consider as they work to implement federal and state health reforms, including recommendations regarding increased access, care integration and payment reform, prevention and public health and preparing the Minnesota health workforce of the future.

"These thoughtful recommendations are the result of deep discussion over the past year on the most pressing health care issues and best opportunities for reform in Minnesota," said Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, who chairs the task force. "There is clear commitment across the public and private sectors for the need to get more health for our dollar and I'd like to thank all of the task force members for their hard work and commitment to this vision."

The Roadmap includes policy strategies for creating more patient-centered coordinated care, changing payment structures to incentivize keeping people healthy, engaging communities in designing healthier environments and encouraging increased personal responsibility in health and health care. Specific recommendations include support for expanding Medicaid eligibility to Minnesotans living at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level (an option for states under the Affordable Care Act) and support for establishment of a Minnesota-based health insurance exchange using a public-private governance model.

The Health Reform Task Force was authorized by the Legislature to provide advice on federal and state health reform implementation. Members were appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton's Executive Order 11-30, signed Oct. 31, 2011. The task force held 65 public meetings between November 2011 and December 2012, including meetings in Rochester, Duluth, St. Cloud and St. Paul.

Over the course of the past year, approximately 1,500 people attended these public task force meetings, including more than 100 individuals and organizations that provided in-person testimony. More than 500 public comment letters also were submitted in response to task force discussions.

Additionally, the Bush Foundation and the Citizens League directly engaged nearly 1,100 Minnesotans in thoughtful conversations on health and health care through a project called Citizen Solutions: Health. The project was anchored by 40 community, employer and constituency meetings across the state where participants of different perspectives, beliefs and ideologies offered their ideas for how to define health, and how to improve the health system to facilitate better health. In-depth discussions were supplemented with online engagement that reached more than 2,000 people. All findings were presented to the task force to aid in the creation of its policy recommendations.

The recommendations in the Roadmap to a Healthier Minnesota are based on task force discussions, expert testimony, Citizen Solutions feedback and public input.