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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bob Dettmer (R)

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GOP, Dettmer: MNsure Rate Hikes, Insurance Caps Will Mean Health Care Cost Crisis

Friday, September 30, 2016
ST. PAUL, MN—House Republicans are sounding the alarm over a looming health care cost crisis following Friday's news that final MNsure rates will rise up to 67 percent and that the Minnesota Department of Commerce has approved enrollment caps limiting Minnesotans' access to federal financial assistance and ability to find health care coverage. Friday's rate increases are on top of increases of up to 17 percent and 49 percent in the past two years. Over 75 percent of people who buy health insurance on their own do not receive any financial assistance from MNsure[1], undermining MNsure's claims that tax credits will offset massive rate increases.
"The unhealthy combination of massive cost increases and enrollment caps is creating a health care crisis for thousands of Minnesota families," said House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown. "I am shocked at Governor Dayton's decision to allow the Commerce Commissioner to approve these irresponsible caps that could leave Minnesotans shut out of coverage."
Enrollment caps approved by the Department of Commerce limit the number of new enrollees for certain insurers who sell insurance on the individual market. Due to MNsure's inability to accurately process applications in a timely manner, Minnesotans who attempt to enroll through MNsure could be left without coverage through no fault of their own. Those who enroll directly with an insurer typically receive confirmation of coverage immediately.
"Raising taxes on trips to the doctor's office and capping enrollment will do nothing to bring down costs, and could leave thousands of Minnesotans with no place to turn for health insurance coverage. MNsure is driving up costs and hurting middle class Minnesotans. Now it is leaving them broke with unaffordable bills or uninsured with no plan available at any price," added Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, Chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee.
Earlier this year, Democrats proposed hiking the MNsure Tax by $40 million[2] and raising health care costs by $1 billion through permanently restoring the sick tax[3].
"Minnesotans deserve answers as to why the Governor, his administration, and Democrats in the legislature have blocked reforms, dragged their feet, and offered few solutions on how we can expand choices, lower costs, and ensure that MNsure is functioning the way it should be," added Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, Co-Chair of the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee.
This year, Davids chief authored legislation to reduce the MNsure Tax which would have saved families at least $22 million over the next three years[4]. The measure passed the House, but was vocally opposed by DFL legislators.
On Friday, Republicans sent a letter to Governor Dayton demanding immediate action on a law signed by him in 2015 requiring the Department of Commerce to seek a federal waiver that would allow Minnesotans to access tax credits off of the MNsure exchange.
"These rate increases are extremely troublesome," said Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake). "Not only because many family budgets won't be able to sustain a 50% or more increase in insurance premiums, but also because of the resistance of Governor Dayton and Democratic Legislators have shown towards any sort of MNsure exchange reform. There needs to be accountability, and that needs to happen before more damage is done."
Rep. Greg Davids has called a MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee hearing to discuss the state of the individual market and open enrollment preparedness on October 5, 2016. Details can be found at: