I am disappointed in the Leadership of both the Minnesota House and Senate for their compromise to fully fund the reinsurance program for another two years plus additional money towards a third year if needed. This program will cost the taxpayers a total of $890 million for the three-year extension. The idea is that they are “buying down rates” by paying for the most expensive claims of people who buy individual insurance on the private market. But what they are really doing is subsidizing insurance companies in hopes that they temporarily keep rates down. Letting this terrible corporate bailout sunset would stop taking taxes from all taxpayers to subsidize the insurance rates for less than 4% of Minnesotans. Reinsurance is socialism in the slow lane.
Health Insurance is NOT health care. Socializing health insurance premiums masks and, in some ways, contributes to the real problem. The problem which we are not addressing is the rising cost of health care. Since I arrived at the legislature, I have been focused on this (and one solution is in my Right to Shop Act bill). Health insurance companies, hospital CEOs, and big pharma want the gravy train to continue. They are pushing for more socialism in healthcare while preventing people from seeing the real cost drivers of healthcare.
The program is being paid for with $716.6 million from the General Fund and $173.7 million from the Health Care Access Fund. The HCAF is funded by the “Provider Tax,” which you pay when you go to the doctor or dentist, generating hundreds of millions of dollars. This money is being used to lower health insurance premiums for just 4% of Minnesotans who buy insurance on the private market.
Think about that. The Government is taxing sick people for the benefit of a small number of individuals. The program pays all healthcare claims above $50,000 for this group, assuming most of the risk for their insurance companies. The idea is that rates will be lowered for the group, but there is nothing that requires them to do so nor by how much. The state is using taxpayer dollars to foot the cost of the most expensive medical procedures. This program ignores the underlying expense of care, and by pumping money into the healthcare industry, it actually drives up healthcare costs.
Two years ago, Congresswoman Angie Craig (MN-02) joined Nancy Pelosi and Democrat leadership to discuss their plan to save their socialist agenda and create an "incremental plan" toward complete government-run healthcare. They started with reinsurance modeled after a "temporary" plan promoted right here in MN. We hope that many of our Republican colleagues will stand with us against this socialist takeover of healthcare. Reinsurance allows for private profits by insurance companies but socializes their risk and losses.
We have an opportunity to lower the costs of healthcare through empowering patients with pricing and the 'right to shop' for preventative care. Instead, we are giving in to the socialist idea that only the government can rescue us from high healthcare costs with reinsurance. If we agree to this, we will inevitably give up our freedom to choose our own health care. When the government is paying, you, the taxpayer, are paying overinflated prices and losing your role in deciding what you want to pay for and how much.
Race Horse Retirement on Taxpayer’s Dime
Thursday, the House also heard HF3545 to authorize the Minnesota Racehorse breeders fund to use funds for the adoption or retirement of racehorses. This fund was established, and the money comes from a tax on placing bets at the track. The funds are then used to promote the breeding of horses in Minnesota, but currently, the fund is only at 20% utilization. Only in government is the solution finding an unused pot of money to spend. Why are Minnesota taxpayers footing the bill for wealthy racehorse owners to unload their retired horses?
This is a shining example of how the government, even if no malice is intended, continues to become bloated. With a $12 billion surplus, we should be looking at how to get money back into the economy, not new ways to spend it. Wealthy racehorse owners should not expect Minnesota taxpayers to foot the bill. The tax that funds this program should be reduced and put back into your pockets, or in this case, it could be put back into the purse for horse racing or lowering the cost of betting. Instead, it’s being siphoned off to fund more non-profits, yielding less transparency and accountability. We are fiscal conservatives, not the party of more spending.
Thank you for being engaged in your government,
State Representative, 23B
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact my office or me. We are still attempting to provide regular contact remotely, so if you have other needs, please email my Legislative Assistant, Grayson, at Grayson.firstname.lastname@example.org.