Greetings from the Capitol!
One of the main reasons I decided to run for state office was my concern about what was happening to our health insurance market and how some aspects of the Affordable Care Act were ruining the great healthcare system that Minnesota was once known for. I heard from many of you about the negative impacts, especially the staggering increase in premiums and reduced choices.
This is what we have been focused on in St. Paul and I'm happy to report that we were successful in enacting some reforms, as well as providing premium relief. I'll share details below, but please know that this is a first step and that the House will continue to work on providing greater long-term reforms.
Passage of Senate File 1 (Premium Relief):
On Thursday afternoon, the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved the conference committee report for Senate File 1, and by Thursday evening it was signed by the Governor. The bill provides a 25% premium reduction to Minnesotans who do not qualify for MNsure tax credits on the individual market, and includes key reforms to preserve care for those receiving life-saving treatments and increase competition and consumer choice moving forward.
Some of the reforms in this 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.
Many of you called or emailed my office with either personal stories, questions, or comments surrounding this first health insurance reform bill. I appreciated hearing all of your input; this will help me become a better Representative for our community.
Generations of Today Magazine:
This month’s issue of Generations of Today Magazine did a fun write up from my vantage point regarding the start of the legislative session. If you have the chance and/or are interested, check it out starting on page 21.
Update on the Governor:
As I am sure you have heard, Governor Dayton experienced a bit of a health scare earlier in the week while giving his State of State address on Tuesday. He then announced to the media the next day that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Please join me in keeping the Governor and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding anything related to state government, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com or 651-296-8635.