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

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Thursday, January 17, 2019


ST. PAUL – State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) is urging Governor Walz and the new DFL House Majority to avoid raising health care costs on Minnesotans this year by restoring the sick tax.


“This tax impacts every Minnesotan who seeks treatment for an ailment,” Torkelson said. “Putting it back into place is not only constitutes a tax increase but an increase in the cost of healthcare for every resident.”


The tax – also known as the provider tax – is a 2 percent tax levied on most patient services in Minnesota, including things like baby deliveries, chemotherapy treatments, routine doctor visits, emergency room visits, and more.


According to state law, the sick tax will expire less than a year from now, but top Democratic leaders have signaled they want to reinstate it. Doing so will result in a more than $600 million increase on health care costs for Minnesotans next year alone.


“Insurance companies have already planned for the sick tax to disappear and have reduced their rates accordingly,” Torkelson said. “If the tax is reinstated, they’ll be increasing rates again to accommodate the extra expenses of lost tax revenue being sent to the State of Minnesota.”


Over the past week, Governor Walz called it a "nonstarter" to end the tax, and DFL House Health and Human Services Finance Chair Tina Liebling said it was "essential" to restore the tax or replace its revenue.


“Democrats will be increasing the cost of health care if they reinstate the sick tax,” Torkelson said. “I will not support this proposal if they are serious about putting the sick tax back into state law.”