Archive for January 2018

Minnesota Insurance Enrollment Broke State Record

More Minnesotans can claim health insurance than ever before. Unlike many of its neighbors, the state has leaned into the Affordable Care Act, and reaped rewards—only 4% of Minnesotans lack insurance for 2018. MNSure recently announced that the 2017 open enrollment period broke its previous record for insurance coverage—a victory in the face of a…

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Long Live the Death Tax!

Conservatives hate the estate tax, which falls primarily on a tiny sliver of the very wealthiest households. However, criticisms of the estate tax do not hold up well under close scrutiny. We examined the criticism that the estate tax constitutes “double taxation” in the preceding article in this series. Estate tax foes raise other spurious…

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Ill-Conceived Trump EO Would Force Thousands of Minnesotans to Spend Thousands on Contraception

The President recently signed an illogical and unpopular executive order (EO) that would jeopardize access to affordable contraception for thousands of Minnesotans. Back in October President Trump rolled back the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate that required employers to offer insurance products with no-cost contraception included. This EO would allow employers or insurance companies with…

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Is the Estate Tax Really “Double Taxation?”

Estate taxes reduce wealth inequality by taxing a portion of huge intergenerational wealth transfers, as noted in the previous installment in this series. Nonetheless, conservatives consistently call for reductions to or elimination of this tax, partly on the grounds that it constitutes “double taxation.” Armed with this assertion in 2017, conservatives reduced this tax both…

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Estate Taxes in the Age of Inequality

Income and wealth inequality has accelerated in recent decades; at the same time, reliance on the progressive estate tax as a state revenue source has waned. Certainly, the decline of the estate tax is not the only—or even a primary—cause for the increase in inequality, but it is an effective remedy for offsetting some of…

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Minnesota’s Community Health Centers Face a Funding Crisis

Map of FQHC sites in Minnesota

The most vulnerable Minnesotans faced a new challenge October 1st. When the previous budget expired, Congress failed to provide stable funding for community health centers (CHCs) that serve these populations. Though Congress passed a 90-day extension of funding as a temporary salve for this problem, it failed to address the massive threat to the financial…

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Minnesota Kids Above Average, But Not as Much as They Used to Be

Ten years ago, Minnesota failed to live up to its reputation for having a well-funded public school system relative to other states, as per pupil public school spending in the Gopher State dropped below the national average. While recent increases in school funding have brought per pupil spending in Minnesota once again above the U.S.…

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Why Transparency Matters: Minnesotans’ Health Care Costs Vary Extensively

Health care prices in Minnesota vary widely and lack transparency, and that opacity contributes to an inefficient and inequitable statewide market. Minnesotans often pay significantly more for the same procedure depending on where they live, without a simple way to evaluate procedure prices. Stronger efforts at transparency—in both the actual costs borne by patients, and…

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Minnesota Revenue & Spending Levels Typical of Other States

While Minnesota ranks fairly high among states in terms of per capita own-source revenue, total revenue, and total spending, these per capita measures are not a reliable way to gauge the relative size of government among states. As noted in the preceding article, states with high per capita incomes almost always have higher per capita…

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