Above is a photo I made of the State Capitol yesterday. I titled it "Finished" since it coincides with the completion of a four-year, $310 million restoration project for this Minnesota icon, which literally was beginning to crumble. The refurbished Capitol will host a wide range of public festivities the weekend of Aug. 11-13 to officially celebrate the grand re-opening of the 112-year-old building. I hope you are able to visit "The People's House" on this special occasion and a complete itinerary of events is available at this link.
Happy National Night Out! I hope you are able to get out and partake in community events tonight as friends and family unite throughout the nation.
As for legislative news, we received a positive report from the Department of Commerce on Monday, with the release preliminary rates for the 2018 individual insurance market. The preliminary projections indicate that reforms we led to enactment this year could end the four-year trend of double-digit premium increases since the implementation of Obamacare and MNsure in Minnesota.
The individual market serves Minnesotans who do not receive health insurance through their employer or the government.
If approved by the federal government, the Minnesota Premium Security Plan will result in premium decreases for tens of thousands of Minnesotans. In contrast, average rates increased by double digits every year since 2014, including nearly 60 percent for 2017. According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, rates would have risen by 25 percent or more without the reforms we gained.
This is great news for families that have been facing soaring MNsure costs year after year. The reforms we enacted are helping us get back some of what was lost when Obamacare was launched in our state. The rate relief is a sign that we are getting Minnesota back on track as a national leader in health care. More work remains, but we are seeing positive results from the improvements we made in the Legislature this year.
Final rates for the 2018 individual market are scheduled to be issued in October, so look for more news then.
One other item to mention is that a batch of new laws takes effect today. With the new school year just around the corner, a new law relates to school bus safety. The minimum fine has been raised from $300 to $500 for failure to stop for a school bus that has activated its stop arm and flashing red lights system. The penalty also applies to passing a school bus on the right when its warning light system has been activated. Click here for a full overview of the changes.
Hope your summer is going well and please stay in touch.