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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Tama Theis (R)

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Capitol Update from Rep. Tama Theis

Friday, February 3, 2017

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Testifying before the Government Operations and Elections Committee on HF 423 with Beth Fraser, Government Relations Director for the Commission of Deaf, Blind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans, and Rick Nelson, from Loop Minnesota.


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With Estel Jaszicek from Lancaster, MN who was shadowing me at the Capitol this week. He’s with Family Career and Community Leaders of America.


Dear Neighbors,

Here is an update from Saint Paul.

Health Care Emergency Aid and Access Bill Signed into Law

Last week, the legislature approved a compromise conference committee report for Senate File 1 that will provide a 25 percent premium rebate for thousands of Minnesotans, as well as begin to implement reforms to begin addressing our state’s health care crisis. It was signed into law by Governor Dayton.

First, the bill allocates more than $300 million to provide a 25 percent premium rebate for each month of 2017 for qualifying Minnesotans who purchased health insurance on the individual market and do not qualify for MNsure tax credits. You do not have to have purchased through MNsure to qualify. Rebates will be delivered through insurance companies, and more than 125,000 Minnesotans are expected to start seeing reduced premiums in the next 8-12 weeks.

Additionally, to protect folks in the middle of receiving life-saving treatments who are losing access to their doctor, we funded $15 million for continuity of care that will extend coverage for up to 120 days. People receiving cancer-treatments or women in the middle of a pregnancy are examples of Minnesotans who would benefit from this funding.

Third, to begin fixing our broken individual market, the new law includes a number of critical reforms. While these are not the complete answer to our state’s health care woes, it’s a good first-step that will increase competition, transparency and consumer protections.

Reforms in the bill include allowing for-profit HMOs to operate in Minnesota; reforming network adequacy to help provide more choice for residents in Greater Minnesota; ending surprise billing to protect consumers; and requiring earlier disclosure of proposed rates so folks aren’t again blindsided by significant rate increases.

Senate File 1 was an important priority for folks in our community and across the state, and I am pleased we were able to get this accomplished and signed into law early in the legislative session.

House File 423

Earlier this week the Government Operations and Elections Committee passed my legislation, House File 423. The bill will expand the use of audio-induction loops in public spaces to help improve sound for people using hearing aids or cochlear implants.

Ensuring that individuals with hearing loss in public meeting spaces with an audio-amplification system can hear and fully participate is integral to ensure accessibility. The bill’s next stop is the House Capital Investment Committee.


If you have ideas, suggestions or concerns about legislation being debated in the House this session, I welcome you to contact my office. Your input is invaluable and helps me better represent the priorities of our community.

It’s an honor to be your voice at the Capitol. Have a wonderful weekend!