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Innovation, Coverage and Access: a public forum on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) hosted by DHS leadership

Posted: Jan. 30, 2017

DHS leaders, employees and community members came together last Thursday evening to discuss the anticipated effects of an ACA repeal on Minnesota. More than 250 people attended the event at the Elmer L. Andersen Human Services Building, which kicked off with a presentation delivered by Minnesota Department of Human Service Commissioner Emily Piper and State Medicaid Director Marie Zimmerman, moved to an open question and answer session and wrapped up with social time.

Commissioner Piper welcomed the group, “We’ve asked you to join us today because the stakes are high. To avoid devastating consequences to our communities and the state budget, any changes to our health care programs must be built on a thoughtful, bipartisan approach that involves our entire community. With this in mind, I’d like to kick off a conversation today that I hope will continue, allowing us to create real solutions for Minnesota.”

Marie Zimmerman highlighted ACA-related care improvements experienced by people with disabilities, people using family planning benefits, children facing serious illness and children in foster care. She discussed Minnesota’s current, historic-low uninsured rate (of 4 percent) and ways in which an ACA repeal is expected to erode this progress. The Commissioner wrapped up the presentation by putting forward her criteria for any Affordable Care Act replacement options, suggesting that Minnesota must carry forward:

  1. Comprehensive, affordable health care coverage for all of the 1 million Minnesotans depending on it.
  2. Nation-leading innovations in paying for and delivering care that allow us to cover the vast majority of our population and keep them in good health.

Dozens of attendee questions—ranging from personal queries about the future of an individual’s coverage to broad asks about the best ways to protect Minnesota’s progress—were submitted and addressed by Commissioner Piper, Medicaid Director Zimmerman and Assistant Commissioners Wilson, Colman and Moracco. The room remained full of attendees and conversation until the final minutes of the event.

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