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

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News from Representative Gruenhagen 09-24-2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Dear Friends,
 
Some updates from this past week:
 
Childcare Unionization Delayed
Last week, the 8th Circuit US Court of Appeals issued an injunction delaying the Democrat effort to unionize childcare providers. This was a major victory for the hardworking small business owners and Minnesota families who just want to be left alone without the interference of a union that will increase the cost of childcare while limiting the choices for families in choosing a provider.
 
The injunction was granted while awaiting the appeal of a similar case out of Illinois that is being heard by the Supreme Court. While the delay may only be temporary, this is an important victory nonetheless for providers who don't wish to be forced into a union.
 
More troubles for MNsure
The open enrollment period for MNsure begins October 1st for MNsure, Minnesota's ObamaCare exchange. Despite the hefty price tag of more than $300 million dollars, the exchange has suffered numerous setbacks and Minnesotans sadly have more questions than answers.
 
After a data breach exposed the social security numbers of more than 2400 people, the nonpartisan Legislative Auditor announced they would be conducting an investigation, and said in an interview "MNsure, without adequate testing and securing, is moving too fast." He added "I really didn't think we would be looking into MNsure this soon."

Questions also remain whether or not participants will be able to keep their own doctor. That's been a concern of Republicans since the exchange was making its way through the legislative process, and a questions that has never been fully answered.
 
There was a report in yesterday's New York Times stating "[f]rom California to Illinois to New Hampshire, and in many states in between, insurers are driving down premiums by restricting the number of providers who will treat patients in their new health plans."
 
Proponents claim the upside of restricting choice is that costs will be lower overall, but in Minnesota and other states around the nation, exchange prices are higher than plans you can purchase on the private market.
 
Simply put, MNsure is not ready for primetime. MNsure board members admitted as much on Friday at their board meeting, when a board member stated "I would encourage Minnesotans to not call on Oct. 1, and that's to try and manage the load on the call center," with another board member adding "There's nothing wrong, actually, in asking people not to sign up right away."
 
When you're spending $300 million taxpayer dollars to establish a new bureaucratic nightmare, the least they could do is make sure it's up and running properly by the deadlines they've been aware of for years.
 
Lastly, I wanted to thank everyone who has taken the time to contact me since the legislative session ended. Your input, questions, and comments are always welcome. Please don't hesitate to contact me at rep.glenn.gruenhagen@house.mn or by phone at 651-296-4229.
 
Thank you for the honor of representing our community at the legislature.
 
God Bless,
 
Glenn
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