ST. CLOUD -- The Minnesota Health Care Financing Task Force held a meeting Friday at River's Edge Convention Center to discuss improvements in the state's health care system.

The task force, comprised of 29 members, is aiming to develop strategies to move the state forward in health care finance and delivery.

"There certainly is a lot here for the group to think about," says Nathan Moracco, Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Human Services. "[Including] ideas around modeling, improving access to care, redesign of care, and improving the efficiency of the system."

Moracco says having the meeting be open to the public was an important decision in order to hear feedback straight from the people.

Senator Tony Lourey. Photo by Chrissy Gaetke, WJON

"Medicaid and MinnesotaCare are programs for those who do not have large household incomes," Moracco says. "So being able to provide health care at an affordable rate is very important us."

"A lot of progress has been made," says Senator Tony Lourey, who is a member of the task force. "We are just at the point of finalizing initial recommendations to be modeled by folks who [analyze] the numbers and then they'll come back in the next few weeks with what they find."

"Then we'll start narrowing the field even further to try to meet those aims of better patient experience, better population health, and starting to control the cost of our health care system."

Once the numbers are analyzed, Lourey says they will forward those recommendations to the legislature for consideration in upcoming sessions.

"These are really important discussions and really important decisions that affect everybody's lives," Lourey says. "I thought it was a really productive meeting and I really value going to spots outside of St. Paul -- I think it helps people gain a much broader understanding on how big and diverse the state of Minnesota is."