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 Monday. 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.
Final 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.
This week I attended the Minnesota Farm Bureau Legislative Reception with our Senator, Paul Gazelka.
I also attended the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issues Legislative Breakfast.
This week, we heard 5 bills in the Veterans Affairs Division that all passed on a unanimous voice vote. One of the most intriguing bills we heard during this committee was House File 232. This bill would provide funds to the Veterans Rest Camp on Big Marine Lake and to Camp Legionville in Brainerd. These camps provide veterans and their families a place for rest, relaxation and recreation.
I am happy to see that my fellow legislators prioritize our veterans and the issues that some face. Our veterans have given so much of their time, energy, and in some cases, even their limbs for our country. It is important to me that they are a priority in St. Paul.
It was an eventful week in the Agriculture Policy and Agriculture Finance committees. We heard a lot of bills and we have many issues ahead to address. Stay tuned on this.
Rural Caucus Update:
We had the first meeting of the GOP Rural Caucus this week. During the meeting, we discussed our priorities for this year; they include: buffer reform/clarification, state agency rulemaking authority reform, property tax relief, energy, county program aid, mental health funding, and transportation.
If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding any issue related to state government, please feel free to contact me at either 651-296-4293, or email@example.com.