The past seven days have been eventful. I am pleased to say that MNsure relief and reform has passed the Legislature, and was signed into law by Governor Dayton. Details of the MNsure bill, Senate File 1 (SF1), are below.
Senate File 1 allocated over $311 million toward premium relief for individuals and families purchasing their plans through the MNsure exchange and on the individual market. Those who qualify will start seeing a 25% premium reduction on their insurance billing statement within 8-10 weeks.
In addition to funds for premium relief, $15 million has been appropriated toward ensuring continuity of care. This means that people receiving life-saving treatments and end-of-life care will maintain their coverage. For individuals fighting cancer and families caring for their loved ones in their remaining days, insurance coverage should be the last thing they need to worry about.
Throughout bill negotiations, our Republican caucus was dedicated to passing reforms alongside the $311 million in premium relief, and continuity of care measure funds. If nothing were to change with the MNsure exchange, we would have found ourselves in an even more dire situation in the not-so-distant future. SF1 included some preliminary steps to reform the exchange in meaningful way; band aid fixes just wouldn’t have cut it.
In an effort to increase transparency, SF1 requires the Department of Commerce to make premium rate changes public within 10 days of when they are filed. If this law had been in place in 2016, Minnesotans would not have been blindsided by these rate increases, and the Legislature would have had enough time to pass measures to mitigate the situation we are in now.
Additional reforms include allowing for-profit insurance providers to sell health plans in Minnesota, with the goal of increasing competitions in our insurance market and providing more affordable options for coverage.
These reforms, and several others, were included in the final bill that passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 108-19, and was signed by Governor Dayton. I am pleased with this first step toward a more substantial overhaul of our insurance marketplace, and of MNsure specifically.
On Monday, January 30th, we heard House File 555 (HF555) in the Veterans Affairs Committee. This bill, which I authored, would give a property tax reduction to non-profit, congressionally chartered veterans’ organization, like the VFW or American Legion. HF555 passed Veterans Affairs, and will now be sent to the House Tax Committee for a hearing.
Farm Bureau Visit to the Capitol
This last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Farm Bureau members from Chisago County and Washington County to discuss their priorities for this session. I enjoyed our visit, and look forward to supporting legislation that prioritizes and strengthens our farming community.
Left to right, Jason May (Chisago County Farm Bureau President), myself , Mike Miron (Hugo City Council Member), and Fran Miron (Washington County Commissioner).
Thank you for the honor of being your representative. As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns you may have. I value your input as we move forward with session.