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Legislative News and Views - Rep. John Petersburg (R)

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Friday, January 20, 2017


Following nearly four years of a health care disaster created solely by one party rule in both state and federal government, and countless complaints from residents who have suffered from the results of this creation, the Minnesota House began to clean up this mess on January 19.


The Health Care Emergency Aid and Access bill will provide direct premium relief to struggling Minnesotans and will institute reforms to increase health insurance access.


Lawmakers were put in this position thanks to the establishment of Obamacare and MNsure. Just as we have storms and other natural catastrophes where we have to come forward and help people, this is a situation where government forced individuals into a catastrophic financial problem.


Some Minnesotans are now forced to pay $30,000 to $40,000 a year in health insurance premiums, not by choice, but because of what government did to them. The House has now agreed to help those caught in this government-created crisis by utilizing $300 million from state budget reserves in order to provide premium relief to eligible recipients. It also prioritizes continuity of care in certain situations where patients have lost the ability to see their existing doctor in-network.


Currently there’s no guarantee that patients can continue to see their doctor for needed treatments if they were forced to change insurance. This bill extends the 120-day continuity of care for critical cases, such as a life-threatening illness or pregnancy.


The bill also contains a number of reforms designed to improve options and increase patient access to care. This includes allowing for-profit HMO’s to operate in Minnesota, which creates more competition for business and drives down consumer costs.


This is hopefully the first step of many we take to address this health care debacle. It is clearly only one piece to this puzzle, but a critical piece to those who are struggling financially because they can’t pay for their health insurance or have lost access to their health care provider.