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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Greg Davids (R)

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

ST. PAUL – A bill being championed by State Representative Greg Davids (R-Preston) that helps Minnesota families save millions on their health insurance premiums and holds MNsure accountable has passed its first legislative tests.

Davids, who co-chairs the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee, said the legislation is an attempt to reduce rising health insurance costs for Minnesota families and rein in MNsure's out-of-control budget.

"Minnesota families are concerned about rising health care costs, and we should be doing what we can to reduce those burdens, rather than increase them as my Democrat colleagues in the Senate are proposing."

Davids' bill would reduce the premium withhold tax for insurance plans sold through MNsure, cutting the tax in half in 2017 to 1.75 percent. The DFL architects of Obamacare in Minnesota assured Minnesotans it would operate off a premium tax that would not reach the maximum 3.5 percent. Within a year of its creation, the MNsure board voted to raise the tax to 3.5 percent, and has since discussed ways to increase the tax beyond the 3.5 percent rate or extend the tax to plans sold off the MNsure exchange.

In addition, the bill sets a series of basic operational benchmarks that must be met by MNsure. If unmet, the tax will decrease to 1.5 percent in 2018 and any year thereafter when MNsure misses the benchmarks.

Davids said this would result in Minnesota families and small businesses saving at least $15 million on health insurance premiums over the next two years, and provides a sharp contrast to a DFL bill heard Wednesday in a Senate committee that proposes to extend the MNsure premium tax to all health plans sold off the exchange, resulting in millions in health care-related tax increases for all Minnesota families.

"If there's one thing MNsure has proven over the years, it's that it knows how to waste taxpayer dollars," Davids said. "My effort prioritizes consumers, and will save families money on health insurance costs. Minnesotans deserve lower health care taxes, not a harmful tax increase."

Davids' MNsure tax cut proposal was approved in the Minnesota House Taxes Committee and now heads to the Minnesota House Ways and Means Committee for further debate.