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

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Gruenhagen introduces consumer-driven health care bills

Monday, March 12, 2012
ST. PAUL – Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen has introduced a package of six House bills designed to spur the private health care market and drive down consumer costs. “The costs of health care are crippling us, a consequence of excessive government regulations,” said Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe. “Government intrusion through programs like Obamacare drives up premiums for consumers and places an even larger burden on taxpayers. The bills I have authored take our state in a better direction.” Gruenhagen said he drew upon experience gained in his nearly 35 years as an insurance representative in drafting his health care reform package. He has introduced six particular bills as the chief author and has co-authored several other health care proposals. Here is a summary of his more notable legislation: •HF1857: Allows citizens to tax-deduct premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses to obtain the same tax advantages as those participating in group health plans. •HF2345: Allows the sale of private health insurance plans, protecting consumers from the expensive and excessive mandates of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. •HF2347: Allows small and mid-sized companies to maintain group health-insurance benefits, protecting them from steep rate increases that may force them to cancel their health insurance coverage. One bill (HF 2683) Gruenhagen co-authored recently was introduced as a way for employers to make a tax-deductible contribution to the cost of health insurance for an employee who otherwise may not participate. This could apply especially well to workers who are not full-time. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development reports Minnesota’s medical device manufacturing industries rank second nationwide with nearly 30,000 workers. “Technology and innovation are the cornerstones of today’s health care industry,” Gruenhagen said. “Excessive government regulation and taxes threaten advancements made by Minnesota companies like Medtronic and leads to increased costs for consumers and taxpayers. We need to continue to oppose the implementation of Obamacare, with its burdensome taxes and regulations on the medical device industry.” —30—
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