On Tuesday I joined my House Republican colleagues at a press conference to urge Governor Walz and House DFLers to drop their plan to reinstate a regressive sick tax on Minnesotans’ health care. This is a $600 million a year tax levied on most patient services in Minnesota, including things like baby deliveries, chemotherapy treatments, routine doctor visits, emergency room visits, and more.
This proposal is disappointing not only because it brings unnecessary financial hardship to sick Minnesotans, but it also flies in the face of what Governor Walz and Democrats campaigned on this fall. Throughout the campaign season, Governor Walz and Democrats made promises to Minnesotans that they would lower health care costs. Instead, they are doing just the opposite by advocating for a $600 million-plus year tax on health care services.
What’s worse, the state currently has a $1.5 billion budget surplus. With such a sizable surplus, there should be no talk of raising taxes—especially taxes on people’s health care.
Supporters of the tax have tried to argue that the revenue generated is needed to provide services to low-income Minnesotans. What they don’t mention is that the Health Care Access Fund, which is funded by the revenue from this tax, has enough dollars in it to meet its current obligations through the end of the coming budget cycle.
What’s more, any funds that may be needed to make up the difference of letting this tax expire, as it’s set to do in January 2020, could be covered by using surplus dollars. Other ideas include finally cracking down on waste and fraud within our public programs or working to rein in the out-of-control inflationary costs that everyone agrees threaten the stability of our state budget.
Either way, the message is simple—don't raise Minnesotans’ health care costs. You can’t make health care more affordable by raising health care taxes.
That’s all for this week’s update. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me to share any thoughts or concerns you may have about state government or the job I'm doing as your representative. It would be great to talk to you. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-8237 or via email at email@example.com.
Thanks and have a great weekend,