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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jamie Long (DFL)

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RELEASE: House votes for Rep. Long’s proposal to pursue the MinnesotaCare Public Option

Thursday, May 9, 2024

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Tonight, the Minnesota House passed SF 4942, the Agriculture, Commerce, and Energy supplemental budget bill. The legislation included a measure, authored by House Majority Leader Jamie Long (DFL – Minneapolis), taking the initial steps to establish a public health insurance option in Minnesota. Rep. Long’s provision in the bill calls on the Minnesota Department of Commerce to seek a State Innovation Waiver from the federal government under the Affordable Care Act to establish the MinnesotaCare Public Option, giving Minnesotans the ability to enroll in a public coverage plan that’s been helping working families for nearly 30 years – MinnesotaCare.

“There are too many Minnesotans who aren’t receiving adequate health insurance or have no insurance at all. As a result, they often delay seeking care or avoid it altogether, and too often this leads to tragic consequences,” Rep. Long said. “The MinnesotaCare Public Option would help over 100,000 Minnesotans have access to better health insurance, empower them to seek the care they need, and achieve better health outcomes. Seeking a federal waiver is a critical first step to making this vision a reality.” 

Currently, MinnesotaCare coverage is limited to Minnesotans earning less than 200% of federal poverty guidelines (FPG). The MinnesotaCare Public Option would allow more Minnesotans to access comprehensive health insurance coverage – with low out-of-pocket costs and a large network of quality medical providers – by paying their own premiums on a sliding scale. 

If the federal government approves the waiver, the MinnesotaCare Public Option may take two to four years to become operational. In addition to seeking the federal waiver, the legislation lays out income eligibility restrictions, sliding-scale premiums, and cost-sharing requirements. A strong coalition of Minnesotans supports the proposal, including groups such as SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, Unidos, ISAIAH, and the Minnesota Farmers Union.

The Senate previously approved its version of the Agriculture, Commerce, and Energy supplemental budget package. The bill is expected to go to a joint House/Senate conference committee.