(Monday, Sept. 28, 2015) — When it comes to the values and goals Minnesotans have for health care, they are deeply divided along ideological lines. About one-third of Minnesotans – 34 percent – believe Minnesota would be best served by a health care system shaped by a competitive marketplace. A nearly equal number – 33 percent – favor a government-sponsored system.

Those findings are from a statewide survey conducted by Minnesota HealthBasics, a collaboration of leaders from Medica, TwinWest Chamber of Commerce, Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council and North Memorial Health Care.

HealthBasics and the future of health care in Minnesota were the topics of discussion at a presentation Monday to the St. Louis Park Rotary Club.

The HealthBasics’ survey found that Minnesotans have high expectations of the health care system, but are reluctant to adopt solutions that might limit their choices. For example, 52 percent of Minnesotans believe that doctors often order too many tests and treatments that don’t improve a patient’s health and 41 percent say that health insurers should work with medical professionals to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments, then only pay for those that are most successful in improving the health of patients.

However, two-thirds of Minnesotans say that insurers should pay for every service or treatment that a doctor orders.

Among the health system challenges discussed at the Rotary was the cost of care and who pays. A current article by Minnesota Council of Health Plans CEO Jim Schowalter points out that in 2013 the Minnesota Hospital Association reported that government programs paid hospitals about $2 billion less than the actual cost of care provided for those enrolled in Medicaid, MinnesotaCare and Medicare. Yet, hospitals that year made a profit through something called “cost-shifting.” While Medicaid and Medicare paid about 67 cents for every $1 of services provided, those with private insurance were charged about $1.33 for that same $1 of services.

HealthBasics is raising these issues at forums like the St. Louis Park Rotary to engage Minnesotans in the issues and to start finding common ground on solutions.

“In order to improve the health care system in Minnesota we need to find consensus on reforms that unite us instead of spending time on what divides us,” said Rob Longendyke, Medica senior vice president and a founder of HealthBasics. “We won’t solve all of the huge issues in health care in any single forum, but by listening and sharing ideas, we can find where there is common ground and where consumers, the health care industry and policy makers can join in creating good solutions.”

In addition to the articles, the complete research findings and other information can be found at www.mnhealthabsics.com. Those interested in hosting forums can get more information by contacting HealthBasics at mnhealthbasics@gmail.com.