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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Brian Johnson (R)

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

ST. PAUL, MN — State Representative Brian Johnson (R-Cambridge) is urging the new Minnesota House Majority and Governor Walz not to raise health care costs on Minnesotans by restoring the sick tax—a 2 percent tax levied on most patient services in Minnesota, including things like baby deliveries, chemotherapy treatments, routine doctor visits, emergency room visits, and more.


“If we follow state law and allow this tax to end, residents will see a decrease in bills every time they visit their doctor or dentist,” Johnson said. “If the House majority follows through on its idea of reinstating the sick tax, they will be directly increasing health care costs for Minnesotans.”


The sick tax, which was eliminated as part of bipartisan legislation passed by a Republican-controlled legislature and signed into law by Governor Dayton in 2011, is set to expire starting January 1, 2020. In total, restoring the tax would result in a more than $600 million increase on health care costs for Minnesotans next year alone.


Over the past week, Governor Walz called it a "nonstarter" to end the tax, and DFL House Health and Human Services Finance Chair Tina Liebling said it was "essential" to restore the tax or replace its revenue.


Johnson said revenue from the sick tax currently helps fund programs such as MinnesotaCare. He added that a number of alternatives exist to replace those funds, including our projected $1.5 billion surplus or cracking down on waste, fraud and abuse in our public health and welfare programs.


“The top issue of the last election cycle was the rising cost of health care,” Johnson said. “Forcing people to pay more to see their doctor makes the problem worse by increasing health care costs on sick or suffering patients.”