Last session a GOP-led legislature approved a reinsurance plan in order to help lower the cost of health insurance for those purchasing plans on the individual market.
Why was it needed? From 2014-2017, average rates on the individual market increased by double digits every year, including up to 67 percent for 2017. That’s why a Republican-led legislature approved a reinsurance plan two years ago to stabilize premiums by mitigating the impact of high-risk individuals, or those who are the most sick, on the individual health insurance market.
The reinsurance program worked, as all five carriers on the individual market lowered premiums for 2019, with average rates dropping between 7.4 percent and 27.7 percent.
But this didn’t stop Democrats from trashing it on the campaign trail and attacking Republican incumbents for "funneling money" to insurance companies.
Now, Democrats are not only sponsoring the reinsurance bill that would extend the program for another three years but are helping approve it in the Minnesota House Commerce Committee. This creates the very real likelihood that new Democratic representatives who opposed reinsurance on the campaign trail could now very likely vote in favor of it.
I’ll continue to provide updates on the proposal as it moves forward in the Minnesota House.
Many of you have begun to work on your income taxes. The problem is many of you might not receive all you have coming to you unless we approve tax conformity which would match our system with that of the federal government.
Last year we passed a tax bill that would’ve averted some of these tax filing nightmares, but Democrats blocked it to score political points. Because of this, we have now caused confusion for tax preparers as well as citizens. In some cases, people aren’t going to receive deductions they normally would have due to a failure to address tax conformity.
Stay tuned to see if this issue is addressed by our House Democratic leadership.
I am still awaiting hearings for my safe routes to school legislation that allocates money to MnDOT which can then be applied for by communities. Forest Lake has benefitted from this program in the past.
I also have legislation that addresses charitable gambling and ensures that more money stays in local communities. I’ll keep you updated on their progress.
ROAD SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS IN FOREST LAKE
I have been in contact with the City of Forest Lake and am providing support as the City tries to secure funding to make safety improvements at the intersection of Highway 97 and Goodview next to the high school. You’ll recall a student was killed here in a traffic accident over a year ago.
Mayor Mara Bain reached out to me recently, sharing that the City is working to access funding from MnDOT’s Local Road Improvement Program in order to make necessary changes, but to date it has not received a response. I have also written a letter of support for the project and have pledged to work with Forest Lake officials and MnDOT representatives, helping in whatever way I can to make the needed changes at this intersection.
This week I met with members of the Association of Minnesota Counties to discuss issues important to county governments, as well as Montessori School students from our area as they toured the Capitol.
As session moves forward, I’d like to hear from as many of you as I can about your legislative priorities. You can contact me anytime by phone at 651-296-4124 or by email at email@example.com.
Have a good weekend,