Statement from Penny Wheeler, MD, Allina Health President and CEO, on today’s vote in the U. S. House of Representatives on the American Health Care Act

For more information, contact: David Kanihan, 612-262-4986

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. 5/4/2017  While a vote in the U.S. House is just a first step in the process, Allina Health is very concerned with the current direction of the American Health Care Act, which the vast majority of experts agree will result in fewer people covered with less comprehensive health benefits than today. We cannot expect better health if people are unable to access the services that promote and maintain health. 

Specifically, we are troubled by provisions that would permit states to waive requirements to cover essential benefits like cancer treatment, maternity care or mental health services.  Our mission is to promote the overall health and wellbeing of the people and communities we serve.  Families need broad coverage for health care services, not ala carte coverage that leaves people without access to proper care or discovering that they have unaffordable medical bills for services that were previously covered in a standard insurance policy. 

The fundamental changes to the Medicaid program proposed in the legislation should concern all Minnesotans. This represents a significant shift of the responsibility for care to the state budget and state taxpayers. Without proper coverage, patients who are currently eligible for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare will delay or avoid treatment until they have no choice other than to use more expensive emergency services.  Minnesota has worked for two decades to create incentives so people get the right preventive and primary care as soon as possible.  Today’s vote by the U.S. House of Representatives threatens to turn the clock backwards on tens of thousands of Minnesotans.  

As the discussion continues, Allina Health will continue to advocate for the coverage and consumer protections that are so important to the health of our patients and the communities we serve. 

About Allina Health

Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares for patients from beginning to end-of-life through its 90+ clinics, 11 hospitals, 15 retail pharmacies, specialty care centers and specialty medical services, home care, and emergency medical transportation services.