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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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Shrimp farming, health insurance in the news

Friday, March 17, 2017

Dear Neighbor,

A package of bills I have authored to make Minnesota a world leader in shrimp farming received support during House committee hearings this week and remains in the mix for passage yet this session.

The main bill (H.F. 1120) would provide tax incentives to entrepreneurs looking to enter the world of shrimp farming. Citizens have been looking to delve into the market of shrimp production in our part of the state, but start-up costs are high. Providing short-term tax incentives on the front end to help get operations up and running could bring big dividends to the state over the long haul.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicates Asian countries and Ecuador currently supply most of the shrimp in the U.S. market, shipping their products thousands of miles from locales largely unknown to local citizens. Suffice to say, some of the places around the world where our shrimp come from today are pretty sketchy. My proposal would change that, instilling consumer confidence in the shrimp they are purchasing – and eating.

The bottom line is we could produce the world’s best tasting shrimp and, at the same time, create hundreds or even thousands of jobs by developing whole new agricultural market. Time will tell how things play out in the legislative process, but we will continue working on this issue.

The biggest news from the House floor this week is passage of another bill that aims to provide double-digit reductions on health insurance premiums by mitigating the impact of high-risk consumers in the individual market.

The proposed Minnesota Premium Security Plan would establish a state-based reinsurance program administered by the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association, which for more than 40 years ran a high-risk pool that brought stability to the individual market and ensured the sickest Minnesotans had access to coverage. Projections indicate the move could reduce premiums by approximately 18 percent.

This already is the second bill we have passed in the House this session to provide health insurance premium relief and to clean up the mess Obamacare and MNsure have caused. The latest House proposal would increase access and reduce costs for people who are in the greatest need. Our bill is by no means a silver bullet, but it is one more important step toward gaining stability and restoring Minnesota’s reputation as a national leader in health insurance.