For more information contact: Catherine Thompson 651-296-5499
Neighbors and Friends,
Today marks our second committee deadline day. Constituents, advocacy groups, committee hearings and floors sessions fill our days, making the weeks fly by. Here is an update from the Capitol.
HF5 vs MinnesotaCare Buy-in
On Monday, the House passed a Republican reinsurance plan that will favor insurance companies over the health of Minnesotans. House File 5 creates a program to subsidize insurance companies. The measure establishes an 11 member board to administer the program – with a majority of board members representing insurance companies – to backfill the cost of large healthcare claims. The program would be funded by the Health Care Access Fund, which currently funds MinnesotaCare. The Republican author also said he doesn’t know the impact of their bill, meaning a nearly $400 million giveaway to insurance companies with no guarantee it will reduce premiums, stabilize the market, or increase access for Minnesotans.
House Democrats have a more affordable option to provide health care coverage to a greater number of Minnesotans by allowing the public to ‘buy-in’ to MinnesotaCare. MinnesotaCare is the successful plan that has existed in Minnesota for 25 years. The buy-in would provide more affordable choices for an additional 100,000 Minnesotans who are currently in the individual market. Participant’s premiums would cover the entire cost of their policies, meaning there would be no ongoing cost to taxpayers.
Those living outside the Twin Cities Metro would have access to a broad network of physicians and care providers available through MinnesotaCare. This would give families more choice in selecting their health care providers – instead of the narrow network currently available.
I am encouraging Republican leaders to give our bill a hearing in the House; it’s our job as legislators to provide Minnesotans choices and options to improve their health and I’m committed to doing so.
Meet the Bell Museum
Monday, Capitol-goers were able to view an exhibit detailing features of the new Bell Museum, currently under construction. This beautiful facility, at the corner of Larpenteur and Cleveland, will include state of the art technology, a planetarium, digital dome theatre and unique exhibits.
The construction process is getting some attention with the type of material used as siding on the facility. Thermally-modified white pine will be used to cover more than 20 thousand square feet. To read more, go to this link in the Duluth News Tribune NRRI innovation featured at new Bell Museum. Keep up with the project by viewing the construction site web camera.
The new Bell Museum grand opening is scheduled for the summer of 2018.
Clarifying the Budget Surplus
In a recent e-update on a segment about the budget forecast, I mentioned the nearly $1.6 billion projected surplus. To clarify, this is only a forecast. If nothing changes in the economy, this MAY be the amount of revenue over spending by the end of the fiscal period but every few months we get an update of that prediction. Many things can happen that will change the amount. The “surplus” could disappear entirely if, for example, some action taken by the federal government affects us. Many federal and state legislators of both political parties fear the radical health care change being proposed in Washington, D.C. could have far–reaching effects for all Minnesotans and result in a loss of a billion dollars or more for our state.
Governor’s Supplemental Budget
Governor Dayton released his supplemental budget today and over the next several days, I’ll review its details. We are also waiting for budget targets from the House and Senate majority, the final piece needed for committees to craft their final budgets.
Please contact me with any questions or concerns.
No image galleries found