Minnesota is a place where miracles happen. Try to imagine our state without the Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota, and Children’s Hospitals. Home to miracle-discovering research companies like Medtronic and Saint Jude Medical, men and women across this state have come from every corner of the world to bring comfort and cures to the sick. Miracles happen in Minnesota because these researchers and caregivers have dedicated their lives to finding the causes and cures for disease while offering treatment and comfort to families praying and hoping for that next miracle.
One hundred and two years ago, William Mayo advised graduating medical students that “The best interest of the patient is the only interest to be considered.”
A century later, our state is being forced to comply with a federal healthcare takeover that seems to say “the best interest of the government is the primary interest to be considered.” The Affordable Care Act (more commonly known as Obamacare) is derailing our economy. It will however cost our country something far more precious than money as we turn away from a heritage of discovery and leadership, and toward a future of rationed care and undiscovered cures.
Three years ago, the President rolled out his plan to the physician- delegates of the American Medical Association. The President famously promised “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” and that if you are not rich, you will not see higher taxes. Perhaps the President’s uncharacteristically wobbly speech was influenced by the faces of the doctors who clearly knew this wasn’t going to work.
We all now know that people will lose coverage, many will lose their doctor, and yes the exploding costs will be paid for with higher taxes as well as painful cuts to health care, particularly for seniors on Medicare.
But let us look back to the patient because Dr Mayo was right. That should be the only interest of consideration.
Is it in the best interest of the patient to pay for more entitlements with cuts to Medicare funding?
Is it in the best interest of the patient to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes on a single Minnesota company like Medtronic who can no longer deploy those dollars to find the next lifesaving device?
Is it in the best interest of the patient for the government to stand between that patient and their doctor-forcing them out of excellent plans like Medicare Advantage?
In his AMA address, as the President praised other countries for spending less on healthcare, he promised to make a health care system “where the best of the American healthcare system is the hallmark of the American healthcare system.” What were those doctors thinking when they heard this? As a Nobel laurite himself, doesn’t the President realize that just in his lifetime, in 42 of the last 50 years, the Nobel prize for Medicine has gone to someone from the United States.
The vaccines, surgical innovations, therapies and medicines from our country have alleviated suffering and improved the quality of life for men, women and children around the globe. Americans are proud of the fact that this is the hallmark of medicine in our country.
America has always been a beacon of hope to those in other countries. Our medical miracles are symbolic of that universal hope for a brighter future. Minnesota’s caregivers and researchers offer hope to families around the country and the world.
No state stands to gain more from a repeal of this bill. Our quality of healthcare is second to none. Our costs are among the lowest of all the states. We need to be bolder. Minnesota should lead, not follow national healthcare reform.
Minnesota House Majority leader