MinnesotaGov. Tim Pawlenty (R) on Tuesday said that legislation being considered tooverhaul the state's health care system should include health savings accountsand tax credits as a way to reduce costs for residents who purchase private healthinsurance, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. The measures are similarto those that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain(Ariz.) proposed on Monday under his health care plan, which aims to expandhealth care through "market-based competition," the StarTribune reports. Pawlenty proposed the measures to a legislativeconference committee that is trying to resolve differences between similarversions of a health care bill approved by the state House and Senate.Brian McClung, a spokesperson for Pawlenty, said that the tax credits would beoffered to individual residents and small-business owners as an alternative toexpanding public health programs, such as MinnesotaCare. Pawlenty also proposed offering HSAs to stateemployees. However, Jim Monroe, executive director of the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, said that idea "won't flyvery far with unions."
Conference committee co-chairs Rep. Tom Huntley (D) and Sen. Linda Berglin (D)were divided on how Pawlenty's proposals are helping to shape the health carelegislation. Huntley said, "I'm very optimistic. I think we're moving muchcloser to a bill that we can pass and the governor will sign." However,Berglin said, "An awful lot is pretty vague," adding, "A taxcredit sounds fine but won't really help people much" (Wolfe, Minneapolis StarTribune, 4/30).