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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL)

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RELEASE: Minnesota GOP fails to deliver on controlling health care costs

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota Department of Commerce announced 2019 health insurance rates for individual and small group plans in advance of the open enrollment period which runs from November 1, 2018 to January 13, 2019. Consumers in the small group market will experience an increase in rates while consumers in the individual market will see a decrease.

“Today’s news shows reinsurance serves as disaster relief,” said House DFL Leader Melissa Hortman. “We must fix health care so we don’t continue to have these disasters in the first place. Rates have gone up for some and decreased for others, but health insurance is still too expensive for too many Minnesotans – including individuals and small business owners. Republican leaders on the state and federal level have taken actions which will not only worsen the crisis, but will leave consumers without the health coverage they need. Huge giveaways to the insurance industry don’t solve any problems. Making health care affordable and accessible is a top priority for House DFLers in the 2019 legislative session.”

“This is, at best, temporary relief for Minnesotans in the individual market. But behind the curtain, we know that the only reason these rates have dipped is a $500 million give-away to the big insurance companies,” said State Representative Erin Murphy (DFL – Saint Paul), DFL Lead on the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee. “There is no time to rest in pursuit of affordable care for Minnesotans, beginning with the MinnesotaCare Buy-In for anyone who chooses it. The people of our state deserve more than band-aids and half-hearted solutions. It’s time for us to lead.”

"Republican legislators spent hundreds of millions for a short-term reduction in premiums in the individual market, with no help for out-of-pocket costs. This is not sustainable. It's time for a new approach to health care that puts people first, not corporate insurance executives," said State Representative Tina Liebling (DFL – Rochester), DFL Lead on the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee. "Minnesotans deserve access to quality, affordable health care, including dental and mental health services, and protection against drug price gouging. My House DFL colleagues and I are committed to making affordable, quality health care a reality for all Minnesotans."

“The short-term stabilization in the individual insurance market is a positive step, but today’s news falls short in providing a long-term solution to the rising cost of health care,” said State Representative Laurie Halverson (DFL – Eagan). “Too many families still worry about being one health care crisis away from financial peril. The House DFL is already working on solutions to rising health costs like increasing cost transparency, addressing pharmaceutical price gouging, and expanding access to health care. Our work is focused on providing the assurance that all Minnesotans can have access to affordable, quality health care.”

“Affordable, quality health insurance remains out of reach for too many Minnesotans and health care costs continue to rise rapidly,” said State Representative Jen Schultz (DFL – Duluth). “Last month’s news that the state uninsured rate has increased is troubling. Republican proposals, borne straight from the insurance industry, aren’t working for Minnesotans. The ‘reinsurance’ bailout wasn’t a real solution to bring down premiums as it’s only temporary, and we will be forced to scramble for a long term-solution in January. Moreover, Blue Plus has spent less than 80 percent of premium proceeds on medical care, necessitating consumer rebates by law, and this likely contributed to premium decreases. The private individual insurance market is not stable because the reinsurance program is temporary and not financially sustainable. It will likely be more unstable in the future if Republicans in D.C. allow insurance companies to offer junk policies that exclude critical coverages and drop people with preexisting conditions. These changes would take us backward and put this stability in dire jeopardy.”