By Debra Hogenson, Waseca (formerly of Brewster)


I read an editorial from Rep. Jim Hagedorn arguing against mandated insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Hagedorn argued that high-risk insurance pools funded by insurance companies and state governments are a better option. He is wrong.

Minnesota had a high risk pool called the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association (MCHA). It was the most successful high-risk insurance pool in the nation, but being best still meant it had serious problems. Premiums, despite state subsidies and insurance company funding, were very high. Minnesota allowed rates of 125% of standard rates. Some states allowed 150% above standard, while half of the states with pools allowed 200%. Deductibles were also very high. Most states with high-risk pool insurance plans had enrollment caps. This meant people desperately needing treatment waited for an opening. All in all, high-risk insurance pools, while necessary before the ACA, were at best a band-aid that we should not return to.

Rep. Hagedorn’s plan implies that fixing our health care system is simple. It is not. As a nation, we must decide; are we going to simply forget about our sick and injured neighbors? Will we expect them and their families fend for themselves? Will only those who can pay get life-saving care? This is a moral issue that reflects who we are as Americans.

We need someone in Congress who understands that the problems in the 1st district are complicated, instead of offering a panacea taken straight from a political party playbook. We need someone who is ready to do the hard work of learning the merits and disadvantages of each potential solution. Above all, we need a representative who will talk straight with us.