Hello Friends and Neighbors,
Greetings from the Capitol! Congratulations to the Red Wing and Cannon Falls High School Robotics Teams that competed in the FIRST Robotics Duluth Regional Tournament. Below is the Red Wing WingerTech team.
It was another busy week for me at the Capitol with meetings, visitors stopping by, and bills being heard in committees. In this update, I wanted to share with you some information about a healthcare bill I’m working on, as well as a note about Wednesday’s State of the State Address.
Health Care Cost Study Bill:
On Tuesday, I presented HF3198 to the Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee. This bill would fund a study and report to be carried out by the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) on health insurance rate disparities between rural and metro areas in Minnesota. Currently, insurance ratepayers in our state’s rural areas experience much higher costs than those in metro areas, with southeastern Minnesota seeing some of the highest costs in the state. Last session we passed both a one-time 25% refund program and a reinsurance bill to help stabilize the individual insurance market, while we waited for more comprehensive federal reforms. We now need to look at the underlying structure and reasons for the significant rate disparity facing southeastern MN. My bill directs the OLA to study these differences, understand the factors behind them, and recommend steps that can be taken to reduce or eliminate the disparities. We still have constraints placed on us by the ACA/Obamacare and I am seeking data and the expertise from the non-partisan OLA that can help direct the legislature’s next steps. I know that many of our farmers, retirees, and small business owners are suffering with the crisis of skyrocketing healthcare costs, and that’s why I will continue to champion my bill and others that are working their way through the committee process.
During my presentation, I was joined by local business owners that have especially been impacted by the high health insurance costs experienced in our area. Bob and Marlene Banks of Cannon Falls, and Kyle Mehrkens of Red Wing, each gave compelling testimony which provided valuable real world examples for the committee to hear. Bob and Marlene own Strike Tool and Banks Outdoors in Cannon Falls, and Kyle is a software entrepreneur who owns Lake Pepin Innovations.
Presenting my bill with Bob and Marlene.
State of the State Address:
On Wednesday, Governor Dayton delivered his annual State of the State Address. I had the pleasure of welcoming Red Wing High School junior Cayenne Korder to the House floor as my guest.
I was happy to hear the Governor’s commitment to working with the legislature in order to address federal tax conformity, ensure a fair tax system for all Minnesotans, and take action to improve school safety. I am hopeful for a productive session working with the Governor in order to build on our accomplishments from last session.
Here are a few photos of some of my many visitors this week:
Veterans for Veterans Day at the Capitol
Soil and Water Advocates
Chief Roger Pohlman stopped by to discuss school safety issues.
Jesse and his parents came up from Wabasha to advocate for funding for home care workers.
Staying In Touch:
Thank you to everyone who has contacted me so far this session. If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding anything related to state government, please do not hesitate to reach out at email@example.com or 651-296-8635.