Here are some of the things happening at the Capitol this week.
First, I want to thank the people who have already filled out my survey. If you have not yet had a chance to, I would love for you to share your opinions with me. I do my best to represent you in St. Paul, and would appreciate your input.
You can take my legislative survey here.
As many of you may know, the deadline to have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is less than a week away. All Minnesotans must have health insurance by March 31, or face a fine from the IRS. President Obama has extended the deadline to April 15 for certain hard luck circumstances. The current penalty for a family of four is at least $285 for failure to sign up, and it will increase to $695 per person in 2016.
I am also concerned that MNsure is releasing misinformation to the public, stating they have reached their enrollment goals before deadlines. This is smoke and mirrors to distract people from the underlying problems they are still facing and their lack of revenue going forward.
Premium taxes on commercial insurance are how MNsure plans to fully fund the exchange going forward. When Democrats passed MNsure into law, they claimed 270,000 Minnesotans would sign up in the commercial market in 2014 and that eventually 1.3 million Minnesotans would enroll. Current enrollment for commercial plans is just over 40,000, which is 85 percent below their goal.
How long will it be before hardworking families see their premiums rise and MNsure returns to the legislature asking for more money?
The fact is that when MNsure says they have reached their enrollment targets, these are not only significantly revised lowest goals, but it is largely people signing up for MA and MNcare. And what’s more, many of these people were already signed up for public health insurance last year and MNsure is reporting them as new enrollees.
This expensive law full of changing deadlines, lowered expectations and costly mandates is not working in our state.
If you are one of the thousands of Minnesotans still struggling to get through MNsure and get covered, please contact my office. I will do my best to help you get confirmation of insurance by the deadline.
DWI Immunity Bill for Legislators
As a co-author on House File 2281, I am hopeful that this bill will be signed into law this year. The bill would strip legislators the right to avoid arrest for a DWI during the legislative session—a privilege currently given to them in the Minnesota State Constitution.
Current statute states:
Sec. 10. Privilege from arrest. The members of each house in all cases except treason, felony and breach of the peace, shall be privileged from arrest during the session of their respective houses and in going to or returning from the same. For any speech or debate in either house they shall not be questioned in any other place.
House File 2281 would make DWI a breach of the peace.
Legislators should not be placed above the law, and I am hopeful that this bill will continue to move forward this session.
I will continue to work on your behalf at the Capitol. Thank you for the honor and privilege of being your state representative.