ST. PAUL, MN—The Minnesota House overwhelmingly approved the conference committee report for Senate File 1 Thursday on a vote of 108-19. The bill provides a 25% premium reduction to Minnesotans who do not qualify for MNsure tax credits on the individual market, and includes key Republican-led reforms to preserve care for those receiving life-saving treatments and increase competition and consumer choice moving forward. The bill passed the Senate earlier Thursday afternoon with bipartisan support.
“The issue I heard about most when I was campaigning this past summer and fall was health insurance affordability and availability,” said Rep. Barb Haley, R-Red Wing. “Senate File 1 begins to address these costs by providing emergency relief to those Minnesotans struggling to pay for their health insurance. The reforms in this bill, as well as the reforms to be discussed later this session, will ensure longevity in cost reduction.”
GOP-led reforms included in the final bill include:
- Allowing for-profit HMOs to operate in Minnesota (like most states) which will increase options for consumers
- Modifying stop loss coverage to make it easier for more small businesses to offer affordable insurance to their employees.
- Providing greater transparency for proposed insurance premium changes by requiring earlier disclosure of proposed rates.
- Allowing Agricultural Cooperatives to offer group health insurance to their members so farmers and their families can get better access to care and more affordable coverage.
- Ensuring Minnesota employees can benefit from the recently passed federal 21st Century Cures Act which allows employers to make pre-tax contributions toward employee health insurance costs.
- Network adequacy reform that will assist in ensuring more options for residents in rural Minnesota.
- Prohibiting surprise billing to protect consumers from previously undisclosed costs.
"Today's bill is a first step in a session-long effort to address the problems created by Obamacare and MNsure," said House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown. "As the first month of session comes to a close, Republican majorities have shown an ability to get things done for Minnesotans and to work productively with the governor."
The bill will now go to the governor, who is expected to sign it into law.