Sen. John Marty’s “Healing Health Care”

The Case for a Commonsense Universal Health System

By John Marty, October 2016

During my 30 years in the Minnesota Senate, I have seen firsthand the failure of our political system to seriously address health policy. In the United States, we squander outstanding health care resources — providers, clinics and hospitals, medical research and technology — on a broken system that makes it difficult and expensive for many people to get the care they need.

Why would any society make it difficult for its people to access health care?

I wrote this book because I am tired of waiting while our political process spends billions of dollars but merely tinkers at the edges of our health care problems.

* First we take a few steps back and look at the mess we have. By doing so, we identify the problems, develop principles for a healthy health care system, and map out a logical plan based on those principles.

* Then we work through our civic process and political system, make the case for our proposal, and then work to implement that plan.

This proposed Minnesota Health Plan and the principles that underlie it are nothing more than what any caring society would desire in order to ensure good health care for all of its people.

A Call to Action

If twenty-first century progressives had been leading the nineteenth century abolition movement, we would still have slavery, but we would have limited slavery to a 40-hour work week, and we would be congratulating each other on the progress we had made.

Epilogue: It’s Time for the Minnesota Health Plan

Our current system, even with MNsure and the Affordable Care Act, still leaves many people without health coverage. Equally troubling, many Minnesotans who have health coverage still cannot afford the care they need.

Health insurance coverage fails to guarantee that people have access to health care, because insurance frequently excludes coverage for needed care such as dental, chemical dependency treatment, mental health, or long- term care.

Health insurance also requires significant out-of-pocket expenses, and it buries people and businesses with a thicket of confusing medical insurance applications and paperwork.

Despite our excellent medical providers and medical technology, Minnesota’s system is so dysfunctional that many families cannot access it even when they have insurance.

It’s time to stand up to the strong, well-financed opposition from the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical lobby.

We must replace health insurance for some with health care for all.

When European nations, Canada, and Japan are able to deliver comprehensive health care to all of their people, with better health outcomes, for roughly half the cost per person that we are currently spending, it is not an insurmountable challenge.

The Minnesota Health Plan would be an efficient health care system based on, and governed by, principles that ensure that all people receive high quality health care.

Minnesota has some of the best medical education, training, research, and technology in the world. It’s time we adopt a health care system to match.

“Healing Health Care” by John Marty can be downloaded for free at the following link:

Numerous excerpts from “Healing Health Care”:

Senate, State of Minnesota: S.F. No. 2060 - Minnesota Health Plan:



By Don McCanne, M.D.

“Healing Health Care” by Sen. John Marty is not only a description of a health care reform proposal for Minnesota, more importantly it is a discussion of policies that all of us desperately need to improve the functioning of our health care financing and health care delivery systems. It is a basic primer that all concerned about health care reform could use.

“Healing Health Care” can be downloaded for free at the link above. It is an easy read of less than 150 pages. For those who do not have the time, it would be well worth reading the excerpts at the second link above. They will provide some of the essence of the message in his book.