Minnesota group to study health care in Germany

A group of Minnesotans, including Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, Linda Berglin and Skip Humphrey, heads to Germany next week to study health care policy there.

The Minnesotans will meet other experts from Washington, D.C., for a seminar there that compares U.S. and German systems. 

The University of Minnesota’s Center for German and European Studies and  Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economics and Federal Ministry of Health are sponsoring the event.

A statement from the U of M says: “Germany’s nonprofit statutory health insurers provide some parallels to what that new Minnesota exchange could look like. Germany has provided high-quality universal health care for its citizens since 1883, when its conservative chancellor Otto von Bismarck became the unlikeliest person to establish the world’s first national health care system.”

Those involved in the Sept. 12-19 seminar in Berlin:

  • Yvonne Prettner Solon, Minnesota lieutenant governor
  • Lucinda Jesson, Minnesota Human Services commissioner
  • Michelle Fischbach, Tony Lourey and Claire Robling, Minnesota state senators
  • Tom Huntley and Kim Norton, Minnesota state representatives
  • Linda Berglin, Hennepin County health policy program manager
  • Cristine Almeida, CEO of Almeida Public Affairs
  • Julie Brunner, executive director of Minnesota Council of Health Plans
  • Jim Eppel, senior vice president at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
  • Nancy Feldman, president and CEO of UCare
  • Kevin Goodno, Frederikson & Byron government relations chair
  • Hubert H. Humphrey III, AARP national board member
  • Connie Perpich, CGES advisory board and Planned Parenthood-Minn., North Dakota, South Dakota
  • Stephen Schondelmeyer, U of M Prime Institute
  • Brenda Sheingold, department of nursing at George Washington University
  • Steven Sheingold, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 09/08/2011 - 02:58 pm.

    They’ll be seeing in Germany how the Massachusetts Plan, modeled on the system used in Germany, Norway and Switzerland, and the national plan modeled on the Mass-Plan differ in an essential and all-important way: the European governments do not allow the insurance companies to manage the system to their own advantage.

    Instead, at least in Switzerland, the government annually studies any changes in the costs of health care and, based upon that review, TELLS the insurance companies, who are all non-profits by law, what they can charge in premiums. All insurers in the exchange charge the same prices, everyone is required to purchase insurance, and competition is based on their level of customer service instead of price. (The government will pay premium costs for the poor.)

    That’s why those pay close to half of what we do as a country for health care, even though we leave out some 50 million people.

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