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MN Mom: Health Care Costs Driving Families to Poverty

Republicans still are crafting a plan to end President Barack Obama's landmark health care bill. (
Republicans still are crafting a plan to end President Barack Obama's landmark health care bill. (
July 17, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Families, workers, nurses and people of faith are asking Minnesota legislators what they are doing to protect and expand health care.

The Select Committee on Health Care Consumer Access and Affordability has been discussing hardships state residents would face under health care insurance changes the Republican Party wants to make.

A repeal of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act would cost the state an estimated $2 billion or more in the first 18 months, dissolve the health care of 22 million Americans and end Medicaid expansion by 2021.

Kelly Martison, a small business owner and mother of two children with specialized medical needs, says it's hard to keep afloat when health care costs soar, and she doesn't think most policy makers understand how easy it is to lose everything.

"The financial side is a huge, huge piece of medical care in this country, and until someone has gone through it they don't recognize and realize, 'Wow, that is enough to devastate a family's finances,’” she relates. “’That's enough for somebody to lose their house. That's enough to upend an entire life.'"

This year's Minnesota legislative session ended in a $500 million cut from the Health and Human Services budget. That pretty much wiped out the Health Care Access Fund, which is meant to fund health care for vulnerable Minnesotans.

Martinson’s son had a brain tumor and his medications cost nearly $80,000 a year. The out-of-pocket cost for the family is $30,000 a year, which is the same as the mortgage on its house.

Martinson says she's terrified of the GOP health care proposals that have come out.

"What nobody can guarantee is yes, we can keep these costs under control and you can count on the fact that you're going to pay X amount, or X percentage of your income towards health care," she states.

Martinson doesn't believe health care is something that anyone should be able to profit from.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MN