For more information contact: Leah Patton 651-296-9895
I am so pleased to say that premium relief and some preliminary reforms passed the Legislature yesterday, and have been signed into law by Governor Dayton. Here is an overview of that bill, and a couple of other items from the past week.
Premium Relief and Reforms
Our premium relief and reform bill, Senate File 1, provides just over $311 million in premium relief for thousands of Minnesotans purchasing their insurance on the MNsure exchange or individual market. This will result in a 25% premium reduction on insurance billing statements for Minnesotans who do not qualify for MNsure tax credits. People who qualify for this assistance will see this rebate given to them from their insurance providers in the next 8-12 weeks. Again, people purchasing their insurance on both the MNsure exchange and in the individual market can qualify for this relief.
In addition to premium assistance, our caucus pushed for the passage of meaningful reform alongside these funds. A Band-Aid financial fix will only put off these problems for another year if substantive measures aren’t taken to change the course of our insurance market. These reforms included allowing for-profit insurance providers to sell health plans in Minnesota in order to increase competition and choice for Minnesotans.
In an effort to increase transparency, the Department of Commerce will now be required to make new premium rates public within 10 days of when they are filed. If this law had been in place during 2016, the Legislature would have had enough lead time to mitigate the situation we find ourselves in now.
Senate file 1 will also put an end to surprise billing, and appropriates $15 million toward guaranteeing continuity of care for patients receiving life-saving treatments and end-of-life care.
These reforms, and other included in the bill, are a good first step towards a more comprehensive overhaul of our insurance market, and the MNsure exchange. I look forward to this debate continuing as we move forward with session.
State of the State Address and the Governor’s Budget
As many of you may have heard, Governor Dayton fainted toward the end of his State of the State Address on Monday evening. The Governor was assisted by two paramedics and two doctors, all four of whom were members of the Legislature, and was back at the Capitol the next morning to announce his budget. My prayers remain with Governor Dayton for his improved health in the weeks ahead.
The Governor’s proposed budget would increase state spending by approximately 10%, and raise taxes on Minnesota’s taxpayers by around $1.6 billion in new taxes and fees over the next two years. Tax increases would include raising the gas tax and increasing the metro area sales tax. There was only about $125 million in tax relief in the Governor’s budget proposal, which is not nearly enough considering our $1.4 billion surplus.
The House is working on our budget proposal, and will solidify this once the February forecast is release. We remain focused on building transportation infrastructure, cutting wasteful spending, tax cuts for small businesses, individuals, and families, and investing in education. I will keep you appraised on the status of our budget proposal as we move forward.
MCCL March for Life
Last Sunday, many of my fellow legislators joined fellow Minnesotans at the Capitol for the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Annual March. While I am still recuperating at home with my sweet babies, I was with the marchers in spirit. I have always appreciated the chance to stand for the rights of the unborn in years past, and look forward to advocating for this cause for as long as I have the privilege of serving in the Legislature.
Keep in Touch
As always, please don't hesitate to contact me with your comments, questions, and concerns. Email me any time at email@example.com or call 651-296-4306. You can also follow my updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/repannawills. If you plan to stop by and visit me at the Capitol once I have returned from maternity leave, my office is 491 in the State Office Building.
State Representative, District 57B
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