Governor Walz Talks Health Care

Governor Walz Talks Health Care Click to Enlarge Photo: Jake Judd (KNSI)

(KNSI) - The governor was at St. Cloud Hospital to talk about continuing a tax that's used to help get insurance for some of the poorest people in the state.

The Health Care Access Fund is a two-percent tax paid for by hospitals and clinics that collects around $800 for the Minnesota Care program and Medical Assistance program.

"Without it, we jeopardize 1.1 million Minnesotans health care, about 40-percent of or children are going to be impacted by that," said governor Walz.

The 26-year-old tax will go away at the end of the year because of a sunset clause.

Senate Republicans want to eliminate the tax in an effort to bring down healthcare costs.

Walz is accusing them of playing politics.

"This issue is being used as a bargaining chip in a broader discussion on things and I want to be clear I am not bartering with people’s lives or with the well-being of our health care system."

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt says the "sick tax" would make health care more expensive for every Minnesotan and stated you don't lower health care costs by raising the cost of health care.

The governor disputes that claim stating if the tax goes away, what will end up happening is the people who drop off and don't have access to insurance will then go to the emergency room with and end up with unpaid bill, the cost of which is spread out to everybody.

Walz says he chose to hold the press conference at CentraCare Health's main hospital because the health care provider supports the tax and provides 40-percent of rural Minnesota's health care.

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