Last week I toured Bemidji State University and had an opportunity to be shown around by former BSU President Jim Benson (full disclosure: Jim is a second cousin of mine). Jim tells the story of how the university a number of years ago was having a hard time even making payroll, but I would say BSU now has emerged as one of Minnesota’s more successful institutions of higher learning.
The things they are doing on the BSU campus – and in the city itself – are quite impressive. The entrepreneurs they are turning out are thriving and I enjoyed meeting with some of those phenomenal folks at Bemidji’s Launch Pad incubator facility.
Aside from the Launch Pad and entrepreneurial training, I also sensed an extremely positive attitude regarding the healthy economic growth happening in Bemidji. It is hard to articulate, but there is a positive, can-do attitude in town which seems to feed the successes of the college and city – and vice versa.
On another subject, we received good news Monday when the Minnesota Department of Commerce released preliminary rates for the 2018 individual insurance market, revealing that Republican-led reforms could end the four-year trend of double-digit premium increases since the implementation of Obamacare and MNsure in Minnesota.
The individual market serves Minnesotans who do not receive health insurance through their employer or the government.
If approved by the federal government, the Minnesota Premium Security Plan will result in premium decreases for tens of thousands of Minnesotans. In contrast, average rates increased by double digits every year since 2014, including nearly 60 percent for 2017. According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, rates could have risen by 25 percent or more without Republican reforms.
The health insurance reform Republicans led to enactment this year is producing results in key areas where MNsure has woefully underperformed since its inception. It starts with the premium relief we achieved and will continue working to gain. Significant problems remain with the MNsure program, but it is nice to see we are heading in the right direction.
Final rates for the 2018 individual market are expected to be released in October, so stay tuned for those figures.
A batch of new state laws take effect today. These are policy laws, following the budget bills which went on the books July 1. Complete details can be found by clicking here.
Look for more news soon and, until next time, I hope you are able to get out and join in the National Night Out festivities tonight.