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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R)

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Obamacare still isn't working

Friday, October 2, 2015

Dear Friends,

Yesterday the Commerce Department released the individual insurance rates for 2016. This includes rates on the MNsure exchange, as well as those who purchase individual plans. When Democrats brought Obamacare to Minnesota they promised a system that would increase choice, decrease cost, and that Minnesotans would be able to keep plans and doctors that they liked.

Instead, we're seeing the opposite. Rates are going to rise for plans in 2016 between 14-49%, with a plurality of consumers on the individual market seeing increases of 45% or more. MNsure will no longer offer platinum level plans, meaning headaches, hassles, and possibly higher prices if those with platinum plans want to stay on their current plan.

Prices have continued to rise dramatically for the past two years under Obamacare. Since 2014, average monthly premiums for a family of four in Southeastern Minnesota with a gold plan have risen $695 additional per month, and $376 for families in Southern Minnesota. Gold plan premiums for a 40 year old in Southwestern Minnesota have increase $154 per month.

These shocking increases are a far cry from promises made by Democrats, who said people could save $500 per year, and that some families could save well over $1000 per year.

Simply put, MNsure and Obamacare have failed Minnesotans and are causing more hassle and headaches for people simply trying to make a living and comply with federally mandated insurance requirements. It's well past time to pull the plug on MNsure so we can at least save taxpayers from having to spend millions more on this duplicative program. The federal exchange can provide the same features as a state exchange, without millions of dollars from Minnesota taxpayers.

I strongly urge Governor Dayton to continue pushing for the federal government to grant us a waiver that allows Minnesotans to access health credits outside of MNsure. Why should Minnesotans eligible for tax credits only be able to access those credits by using the exchange? If they find a plan outside the exchange that fits their needs, there's no reason we should restrict those options.

I anticipate many more discussions throughout the rest of interim and into next session on how we can address MNsure moving forward. We need to admit on a bipartisan basis that the system isn't working, and roll up our sleeves and come up with meaningful solutions to fix it.

Take care,

Glenn

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