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RELEASE: Rep. Gruenhagen Urges DFL Majority, Governor Walz: Don’t Raise Our Health Care Costs

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

ST. PAUL, MN — Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe) joined fellow Minnesota House Republicans at a press conference Tuesday urging the new DFL House Majority and Governor Walz not to raise health care costs on Minnesotans by restoring the sick tax—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.

“Simply put, you don’t lower health care costs by raising taxes on health care by over $600 million a year,” said Rep. Gruenhagen. “The state has a $1.5 billion surplus—any talk of raising taxes, especially taxes on health care services, is irresponsible. I will continue to advocate for free market solutions to the problems facing our health care system. Once again, we can’t lower costs for folks by increasing the costs of health care services.”

The tax, which was eliminated as part of bipartisan legislation passed by a Republican-controlled legislature and signed into law by Governor Dayton in 2011, is set to expire starting January 1, 2020. In total, restoring the tax would result in a more than $600 million increase on health care costs for Minnesotans next year alone. Over the past week, Governor Walz called it a "nonstarter" to end the tax, and DFL House HHS Finance Chair Tina Liebling said it was "essential" to restore the tax or replace its revenue.

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