ST. PAUL – Health insurance premium relief and reform is on the way for tens of thousands of Minnesotans. State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) helped approve a health care emergency aid and access proposal in the Minnesota House, and the measure was recently signed into law by Governor Dayton.
“We are moving forward steadily with our effort to assist with health insurance premiums and take the first steps toward reform,” Torkelson said. “Of the many good provisions in this bill, one that is sure to interest many in southwestern Minnesota is an initiative that gives farmers a better opportunity to acquire affordable health care.”
Torkelson said he was pleased with overwhelming bipartisan support the legislation received, as it was approved in the House by a 108-19 vote and in the Senate with a 47-19 margin.
Specifically the proposal provides a one-time appropriation of roughly $325 million from budget reserves to offset 25 percent of premium costs this year for eligible residents. Torkelson said it also includes several necessary reforms, as it provides 120 day continuity of care for critical health care cases, allows more HMO’s to operate in Minnesota; orders an audit to determine how the plan is working; and allows organizations with member owners – such as farm cooperatives – to provide health insurance to their members.
“This sounds like a very good idea to me and I hope our co-ops will take advantage and offer this service to their members,” Torkelson said.
Torkelson expects more long-term health insurance reform proposals to be debated throughout the 2017 session.