Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Here is an update from Saint Paul.
Scandia Elementary School
Last Friday, I went to Scandia Elementary School to present them with a House Resolution, congratulating them on being named an International Baccalaureate World School. This three year process to be certified puts them in an elite category, being one of only 23 schools in all of Minnesota to be an IB World School.
I would like to offer special congratulations to Scandia Elementary School Principal Julie Greiman and IB Coordinator Gerry Seaburg for all of their hard work. Well done!
This week, the Legislative Auditor released their report on MNsure, stating that our health care exchange’s “failures outweighed its achievements.” That is disappointing for Minnesotans who purchased health care through MNsure as well as for taxpayers who spent nearly $200 million to build it.
The biggest problem pointed out in this audit, and there were many, is the fact that MNsure failed to meet its core goal of signing up people for the right health care plan in an easy and efficient manner. As a result, people were left frustrated with inefficient websites and problematic customer service. 58 percent of people surveyed by OLA said they spent at least four hours in the enrollment process, and 75 percent reported significant technical problems online.
Moreover, MNsure fell far short of enrollment goals and were forced to raise the tax on plans to the top rate of 3.5 percent, even after the DFL promised that tax would never be above 2 or 2.25 percent. With commercial plan enrollment 88 percent below its goal and a list of technical problems at the state and county level mounting, it’s no wonder Governor Dayton has asked the legislature for even more funding to cover the shortfall this biennium.
What’s more, the Legislative Auditor reported that MNsure and DHS never publically corrected an error that underestimated public enrollment by more than 80,000, allowing them to mislead Minnesotans and say they met their enrollment goals.
With more than 70 percent of MNsure enrollees already having insurance, it seems Minnesotans built a big, new health care exchange that was inefficient, ineffective and didn’t insure many new people.
House Republicans will continue to work toward fixing this bloated system, looking for ways to implement real solutions instead of more cover-ups and Band-Aids. It’s time for state leaders to bring real accountability to Obamacare in Minnesota.
This week, several bills I am authoring passed in House Committees.
On Monday, HF 312 for a military retirement pay subtraction phase-in and HF 125 for veterans job tax credits were both passed in the Veterans Division and sent to the House Taxes Committee.
On Tuesday, HF 329 which protects certain state workers who are attacked on the job was passed in the Public Safety and Crime Prevention Committee.
Finally, on Wednesday, HF 129 which provides funding to improve the Big Marine Lake Veterans Rest Camp was passed out of the Mining and Outdoor Policy Committee onto the Legacy Committee.
MCCL Legislative Dinner
On Wednesday, Feb. 11th, I attended the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Legislative Dinner in St. Paul. We heard from some wonderful keynote speakers about the importance of life, and it was a great event for legislators and policymakers!
If you have any ideas for legislation or input on what’s happening at the Capitol, I welcome you to contact me this session. I am here to serve you!
As always, thank you for the honor and privilege of being your state representative.