I wanted to share with you an email I recently received from a constituent in Waconia that captures much of the anger and frustration many families feel about MNsure and Obamacare. When President Obama pushed Obamacare through Congress, he promised an average savings of $2,500 per year. When Democrats pushed MNsure through the legislature in 2013, they promised $500 in savings per year.
Instead, families in Carver County are seeing the opposite.
My constituent calculated that she pays about $12,288 per year for a family of four medical plan with a $3,000 deductible. Next year, those costs are set to increase by over $7,000, a whopping $1,623.85 per month. That's more than most folks pay for their mortgages. While there are families who could afford these increases, there are thousands of others across the state - especially those with lower incomes - who simply don't have it in their family budget to absorb massive health cost increases. Sure, there is assistance available for lower-income folks who qualify for tax credits under the Affordable Care Act, but most working families are above the thresholds and are out of luck - even when their costs increase.
Instead of controlling costs, Obamacare is making the problem worse. Premiums and deductibles are rising. People are paying more for lower quality plans, and forced to make the difficult choice between paying more to keep the plan they like or moving to a plan that doesn't cover everything they need.
During my first year at the legislature I supported reforms that sought to give families access to tax credits outside the MNsure exchange to broaden the number of available options. While we can make small tweaks at the state level, we are bound by the many mandates and requirements of Obamacare. We will definitely be looking at other fixes next year, and I hope my DFL colleagues and Governor Dayton will be willing to work with us on reforms.
It's also going to take major, large-scale reforms at the federal level to tackle this issue. It's time for President Obama to admit that while his signature achievement is helping some, there are millions more who are being hurt by rising deductibles and premiums and the other dire consequences of Obamacare.
Please don't hesitate to email me if you have questions about health care, or ideas on how we can improve health care laws on the state level. My door is open, and I welcome your input at email@example.com or by phone at 651-296-4282.