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Letter: Website will help craft health care legislation

A wise man once said that there is nothing more powerful than a true story well told. That is certainly the case in politics.

Over the past year, I have been listening to hundreds of individual stories about the burden of rising health care costs and denial of health care coverage -- and the impact it has on individuals and families across this state. The stories are sometimes about the miracles of medicine in this state that has for so long been at the forefront of health care innovation. But too often they are tragic, like the story of the woman who suffered through two years of an incredible painful illness without treatment until she reached the age that she could qualify for Medicare.

This past session, the Minnesota legislature took bipartisan steps to reduce costs and improve the quality of health care. It was important progress, but it was not nearly enough to help those 240,000 Minnesotans with insurance who pay more than 25 percent of their income on health care. I firmly believe that state policymakers will continue to make only incremental progress toward the bold reform we need unless we hear from -- and listen carefully to -- the stories the people of Minnesota. Average citizens must have a voice in finding the solution because they're the ones feeling the impact of rising health care costs.

To make sure that happens, we created a new, Minnesota focused health care website that asks for individual stories about health care in our state and NBSP. We want to hear both the good and the bad. I hope to use what we learn from the stories of average Minnesotans to help craft legislation that will continue to address health care issues in ways that are practical, expedient and cost effective.

Please visit the site, share your stories and help change health care in Minnesota. -- State Rep. Paul Thissen, Chair of the Minnesota House of Representatives Health and Human Services Committee