Minnesotans without health insurance could rise to 655,000 in 10 years, study finds

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The number of Minnesotans without health insurance could increase to 655,000 in 10 years and the cost to those with insurance could jump by 74 percent if Congress does not pass health care reform legislation, according to a new study [PDF] by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The report, which produced state-by-state and national estimates, projected dramatic effects on workers and families in the coming decade if changes are not made to the current system.

Out of all the states, Minnesota would see the smallest increase in uninsured partly because the state’s threshold for Medicaid eligibility is higher than other states. At the same time, however, Medicaid spending could increase by 127.5 percent as more people join the rolls, according to the study.

Changes in coverage across years, non-elderly population (in thousands)

Changes in coverage across years, non-elderly population (in thousands)

“We hear a lot about the political toll of health reform, but the cost of failing to reform our health care system will be felt most strongly by our state governments, our communities, and most importantly, our families and neighbors,” Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in a statement. “Now is the time to act, because delaying reform makes the problem worse.”

Nationwide, Lavizzo-Mourey said that the cost to American businesses for their workers’ health care could double. The study also reported that the number of uninsured Americans could reach almost 66 million and individual and family spending on health care would jump 46 to 68 percent, with middle-class families hardest hit.

“The consequences would be blind to politics and felt by Democrats, Republicans and independents alike,” said Lavizzo-Mourey.

The study made projections for all the states based on these worst, immediate and best-case scenarios:

•Worst case: Assumes slow growth in incomes and high growth rates for health care costs.

•Intermediate case: Assumes faster growth in incomes but a lower growth rate for health care costs.

•Best case: Assumes full employment, faster income growth and even slower growth in health costs.

Aggregate spending across years, non-elderly population

Aggregate spending across years, non-elderly population
Source: Urban Institute’s health insurance policy simulation model. Note: Individual and family spending includes out-of-pocket health care costs and premiums.

Even under Minnesota’s best-case scenario, 577,000 more people would become uninsured in 10 years and the cost to those with insurance would increase by 49 percent.

“When people are thinking about health care reform, they are comparing it to what they have now,” said Bowen Garrett, a senior research associate at the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center and the lead author of the study. “The problem is that what many people have now they are going to lose.”

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 10/06/2009 - 12:17 pm.

    Maybe this is what it will take before everyday people realize that health care reform is for their benefit. The rich have it. The poor have it. The only ones left out of most of it are the middle class.

  2. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 10/06/2009 - 06:25 pm.

    Until America stops believing the propaganda saying that the “magic” of the free market solves all problems better than government; competition will always drive prices down; America is “not ready” for universal single-payer health care, et cetera, we will NEVER solve the terrible toll our current insurance-run system is taking on our economy and our society.

    Those who profit so excessively from human suffering are not likely to change their ways by much, with or without “reform,” unless and until they are forced to by government taking its power to withhold care while overpricing its products away from it.

  3. Submitted by Rebecca Hoover on 10/06/2009 - 07:05 pm.

    This is an excellent article. And you are correct, the middle class is the group that is being hurt by our current policies. This is the reason the middle class is so firmly in support of the public option. The article might understate the severity of the problems, however.

    The middle class is being radicalized by the health care issue and this is especially so given the lack of jobs for the middle class–a group that likes to work and contribute.

    I called Amy Klobuchar’s office today and she still is not supporting the public option.

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