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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Torkelson (R)

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Friday, January 20, 2017

ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House has taken action on a bill designed to help those who are having difficulties obtaining and maintaining affordable health insurance in our state.


State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) said he voted in favor of the Health Care Emergency Aid and Access bill in order to begin making changes to the marketplace that has changed radically since the implementation of MNsure and Obamacare


“This bill is especially important to residents in Greater Minnesota,” Torkelson said. “A number of my constituents in the private health insurance market have experienced tremendously high premium increases and in some cases have been unable to find insurance, so legislative action was necessary.”


Specifically the proposal provides a one-time appropriation of $300 million from budget reserves to provide eligible residents with some assistance for their health insurance premiums and an initiative that provides continuity of care in severe cases.


He added that the plan not only adds financial assistance but accountability. Reforms included will prevent double dipping, prohibit surprise billing, and allow for-profit HMO’s to operate in Minnesota.


“It’s a step in the right direction,” Torkelson said. “We’re trying to move this as quickly as possible to get the relief out there, and we’re also anticipating some changes to Obamacare at the federal level which would allow us to do even more in the weeks ahead.”


With the House having approved the legislation, Torkelson said a joint House/Senate conference committee is expected to be called to work on a compromise proposal that can be approved by both legislative bodies.