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

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Legislative Update from Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Dear Neighbors,

Today, House Democrats will be voting on gun control legislation. I have always been a strong defender of the Second Amendment and will be proudly voting NO on the two extreme Democrat gun control bills up today on the House floor. Click here or the photo below to watch a short video where I explain the bills in further detail.

Single-Payer Healthcare

Democrat presidential frontrunner, Bernie Sanders, and a majority of  Minnesota Democrats along with Governor Walz support a single-payer, government-run, health care system that will have several devastating results on our healthcare system.

Research organizations have conducted studies looking into the costs of a single-payer and the type of impact it would have on Minnesota. Some estimates place the annual cost at $35 billion or $70 billion every two years! For context, Minnesota’s current two-year biennial budget is approximately $48.5 billion. Single-payer would push Minnesota’s two-year biennium budget to over $100 billion.

While costs for taxpayers would be astronomical, low reimbursement rates for Medicare and Medicaid would cause significant issues for health providers, especially those in rural Minnesota. In the past doctors and hospitals have “cost shifted” losses from government healthcare plans to the private health insurance plans, however, since Obamacare has severely damaged and shrunk the private health insurance market this is no longer feasible.

This means that more and more clinics and hospitals have either had to close their doors or rollback services due to declining revenue.

The following is an actual example of reimbursement rates from a rural clinic for a basic metabolic panel lab test in MN:

  • Private insurance: $44.40
  • Medicare: $36.99
  • Medicaid: $9.40.

It’s clear that medical providers lose money on Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.

Last May, the Star Tribune reported that 19 Minnesota hospitals were at risk of closing due to low reimbursement rates from Medicare and Medicaid with an additional 32 hospitals classified as financially stressed.

Bernie Sanders's and Democrats’ single-payer health plans would be based on Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates. These low government reimbursement rates would result in dozens of hospitals and clinics reducing medical services or closing in Minnesota. Nationally over 104 small-town hospitals have closed since 2010 reducing access to critical medical care for patients.

The Sanders plan would completely outlaw private insurance. For example, if you are insured by Blue Cross Blue Shield through your employer, you would be forced to go on the government-run plan.

While it’s clear that this proposal is a bad idea, few candidates and supporters of the plan discuss the dramatic consequences Medicare-for-All would have on rural hospitals and clinics. In fact, most supporters are intentionally vague about the government plan’s consequences.

So, how do we fix the health care system?

We must reinvigorate the private health insurance market. The good news is that there are reforms we can do to dramatically reduce health insurance premiums and deductibles and I have authored numerous bills to do just that. Unfortunately, my legislation has not gained much traction in the DFL controlled House of Representatives.

To put a bow on this, just last week during a meeting of the Health and Human Services Committee, a state health economist shared a startling statistic revealing that in 2017, 1.2 million Minnesotans did not seek needed healthcare due to costs. Think about that! Obamacare, which dramatically expanded Medicaid coverage and drove up the costs of private health insurance premiums and deductibles while promising healthcare for all Minnesotans has actually delivered less access and less critical healthcare for over 1.2 million Minnesotans.

We can do better and must oppose government single-payer healthcare and support private health insurance reforms that will increase access to needed healthcare and lower health insurance premiums.

Staying in Touch

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me to share your thoughts, questions, and concerns as it relates to state government. I can be reached at 651-296-4229 or via email at rep.glenn.gruenhagen@house.mn.

It remains an honor to represent you and your family in St. Paul.

Have a great day,

Glenn

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