Congressman Jim Hagedorn has repeatedly stated that the United States, and Minnesota specifically, has the best, highest-quality, finest health care in the world.

I have a few questions.

How can we have the best health care in the world when people are unable to access or utilize mental health care? When suicide rates and overdoses are rising? When our life expectancy is decreasing over time, despite advances in medical technologies? When health insurance companies are declining coverage for mental health and substance abuse?

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, the Affordable Care Act, and other legislation have provided requirements for many health insurance plans to cover mental health and substance abuse treatment as equivalent to medical/surgical coverage, yet there seems to be no enforcement of these requirements.

Health insurance companies, like UnitedHealth Group, when left to self-regulate, will choose to deny coverage for mental health and substance abuse treatment to increase their bottom line.

Hagedorn has repeatedly demeaned the Affordable Care Act and described government regulations as onerous, stating that they may have "a devastating effect on the people of southern Minnesota."

I would argue that poor-quality, self-regulating, capital-driven health care has a much more devastating effect on the people in our district.

Leah Hanson

North Mankato

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