Exciting news from Minnesota: following the recommendation of the state’s healthcare financing task force, Minnesota governor Mark Dayton asked the legislature last week to finance a study of the costs and benefits of a single-payer system.
Minnesota’s political landscape is one of the most promising in the country; the state is highly Democratic, and one of few to have a pro-single payer governor. A supportive executive combined with a Democratic Senate means that passing legislation is, down the road, feasible. All hands are on deck: PNHP Minnesota has also been collecting signatures in support of the study, and the Minnesota Nurses Association has even hired a staff person solely for the purposes of doing outreach and education on single payer!
Activists are optimistic that the governor’s single payer study will be financed, and expect that the results will be available sometime in 2017.
How did it happen?
Last year, Dayton announced the creation of a task force on healthcare financing that would advise the state’s elected officials. While this committee was intended to focus on expanding access to care through existing channels – such as Minnesota Care or MNsure – the nurses’ long campaign to get MNA’s Executive Director Rose Roach on the task force paid off: last month, the task force submitted its recommendations, which included the single payer study proposal that the governor adopted.
Senator John Marty, author and lead sponsor of Minnesota’s single payer bill, joined Rose on the task force and also played a key role in this win.
The nurses’ savvy embrace of this opportunity is an instructive example of how local groups can move single payer activists into publicly-appointed roles that influence government.