(CNN) – As Democrats in Washington work to push health care reform through the Senate, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty rolled out a series of new health care initiatives on Tuesday that he plans to introduce during next year's legislative session.
The Republican, who is contemplating a White House bid in 2012, made clear that the proposals are intended to be a "market driven" contrast to President Obama's health care plan currently being debated in Washington. Along with the official policy rollout in St. Paul, Pawlenty also published an online column trashing the Democratic health care bill that ultimately emerged from the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday as "a tax and spending bill masquerading as a health reform bill."
His new three-pronged plan to reform the state-run health care system is anchored by a proposal to let Minnesotans purchase health insurance plans across state lines. If enacted, Minnesota would become the first state to allow residents to buy health care from out of state. That plan, he said, would foster more private sector competition to help reduce costs.
The second proposal would establish a "tiered provider system" for the state-run programs MinnesotaCare and Minnesota Advantage that would make consumers pay more for clinics that are more costly and less efficient. The third part of the plan would require adults making at least 133 percent of the federal poverty level pay for some of the health care expenses under MinnesotaCare.