The national health care debate came to the state Capitol on Monday, as U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota heard from a variety of observers about the health care reform being discussed in Washington.
McCollum said she supports President Obama's health care goals of reducing costs and expanding access, but not if those reforms hurt Minnesota.
McCollum, a Democrat who represents Minnesota's 4th Congressional District, said the health care bill taking shape in Congress could end up preserving the state's low reimbursement rates under Medicare.
She said that would undermine the state's current ability to deliver high-quality and low-cost health care.
"Minnesota's success must not only be acknowledged, but it should be rewarded," said McCollum. "Instead, the current legislation that's been proposed has a real opportunity to do actual harm to Minnesota's delivery of health care. And that's just simply unacceptable."
McCollum serves on the powerful House appropriations and budget committees, which will play a role in passing the health care reform legislation. She heard testimony from health care providers, hospitals, health plans and advocates.
Meantime, Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen is touring health care facilities in his 3rd Congressional District today, talking to doctors and health professionals.
Paulsen said he doesn't think new taxes are needed to fund health care reform. At West Health in Plymouth, he said he opposes the Democratic plan for an income tax surcharge to pay for health reform.
"The physicians and the hospitals, and all the medical providers I have been meeting with in the 3rd Congressional District have been saying that there are reforms that can be done successfully to get more people covered, to provide innovative care, without further burdening job creation and raising taxes," said Paulsen.
A telephone survey of 500 likely Minnesota voters conducted by Rasmussen Reports last week found residents evenly divided over the current reform plans, which include an income tax surcharge and a public insurance offering.