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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bud Nornes (R)

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LEGISLATURE PASSES HEALTH CARE RELIEF BILL

Thursday, January 26, 2017

 

Bill includes premium relief, preservation of care, reforms to increase competition and choice

ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House overwhelmingly approved a package of health insurance relief and reform on Thursday, sending it to the governor for his anticipated approval.

The package (S.F. 1), which passed the Senate earlier in the day, provides a 25-percent premium reduction to Minnesotans who do not qualify for MNsure tax credits on the individual market. It also includes key Republican-led reforms to preserve care for those receiving life-saving treatments and increase competition and consumer choice moving forward.

“Soaring premium rates received much publicity and it was important we address that problem, but other issues such as limited accessibility to care also needed to be fixed”,” said Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls. “There is more work to do, but the package we passed makes headway with a good number of reforms that will help improve health care for the long haul, independent of uncertainty that exists on this issue at the federal level.”

The bill passed both bodies with bipartisan support and Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign it.

“Today’s bill is a first step in a session-long effort to address the problems created by Obamacare and MNsure,” said House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown. “As the first month of session comes to a close, Republican majorities have shown an ability to get things done for Minnesotans and to work productively with the governor.”

Republican-led reforms in the final 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.

 

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