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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Tim O'Driscoll (R)

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RELEASE: Democrats begin epic flip-flop on reinsurance

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

ST. PAUL, MN—Rep. Tim O'Driscoll, R-Sartell, House Republican Lead on the House Commerce Committee, issued the following statement regarding Democrats voting today to advance HF629, authored by Rep. Laurie Halverson, DFL-Eagan, to extend the state's reinsurance program for three years. Just two Democrats voted against the bill.

"Months ago, Democrats were decrying reinsurance as a proposal "borne straight from the insurance industry," and a giveaway to insurance companies," O'Driscoll said. "Now they have apparently changed their tune, and are voting to extend it for three years. We welcome their newfound support for reinsurance—it was the right thing to do, and the program has helped lower premiums for Minnesotans two years in a row."

In 2017, just one House Democrat voted for the reinsurance bill, and former Governor Dayton allowed it to become law without his signature. They trashed it on the campaign trail, and attacked Republican incumbents for "funneling money" to insurance companies.

In October 2018, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, said in a statement in a reference to reinsurance that "[h]uge giveaways to the insurance industry don’t solve any problems." She added in a 2017 speech on the House floor "This Republican plan puts insurance companies first."

House HHS Long Term Care Division Chair Jennifer Schultz, DFL-Duluth, said in October 2018, "Republican proposals, borne straight from the insurance industry, aren’t working for Minnesotans. The ‘reinsurance’ bailout wasn’t a real solution to bring down premiums as it’s only temporary, and we will be forced to scramble for a long term-solution in January." Rep. Schultz is now a co-author on the bill to extend reinsurance for three years. 

During her 2018 campaign, Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn, DFL-Eden Prairie, claimed her opponent "funneled our tax dollars directly to insurance companies instead of working to solve the long-term problem." Rep. Kotyza-Witthuhn voted today to extend reinsurance.

In 2017, Rep. Andrew Carlson, DFL-Bloomington, said the reinsurance bill "will favor insurance companies over the health of Minnesotans" and trashed it as a "$400 million giveaway to insurance companies." Rep. Carlson voted today to extend reinsurance.

Rep. Tim Mahoney, DFL-St. Paul, said in 2017 he would be voting against reinsurance "because this hands out half a billion dollars to insurance companies." Rep. Mahoney voted today to extend reinsurance.

"Despite Democrats' misleading rhetoric, the facts are clear: reinsurance works, and Minnesotans have benefited from lower premiums and a stabilized individual insurance market," Rep. O'Driscoll concluded.

You can find a video compilation with just a sampling of Democrats' criticisms of reinsurance here.

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