In an update a few weeks back I mentioned my efforts to help direct resources to the Anoka-Hennepin Secondary Technical Education Program (STEP) for a fabrication lab. This week, I had the opportunity to present the legislation accomplishing this to the House Education Finance Committee. This was particularly exciting as it was my first presentation of a bill before a committee.
Presenting HF 550 with Mike Hilber, an instructor at STEP
HF 550 would provide a $200,000 grant to the Anoka Hennepin School District to purchase equipment and software for the lab that would get up and running collaborating with Anoka Tech and private program. Innovation and collaborative problem solving are core skills, yet most high school students will graduate without the experience of having ever designed a solution and built a working prototype. In the Anoka County area, manufacturing makes up 20% of all careers with an average wage of $79,000. Manufacturing is in critical need of students and workers entering into these fields, so it is important to show our students how creative and expansive the manufacturing industry can be.
MinnesotaCare Buy In
On Monday, the House passed a Republican-pushed bill to create a program mitigating the cost of large claims for health insurance companies. Known as “reinsurance,” the plan favors insurance companies by subsidizing them – to the tune of $400 million or more over two years - with no guarantee that premiums will be reduced, the market will stabilize, or access for Minnesotans to health care will increase. It would be administered by an 11 member board with a majority of board members representing insurance companies. The program would be funded by the Health Care Access Fund, which currently funds MinnesotaCare.
House Democrats have a more affordable option to provide health care coverage to a greater number of Minnesotans by allowing the public to ‘buy-in’ to MinnesotaCare, a plan that has been successful in Minnesota for 25 years. The buy-in would provide more affordable choices for an additional 100,000 Minnesotans who are currently in the individual market. Participants premiums would cover the entire cost of their policies, meaning there would be no ongoing cost to taxpayers. I still hope this proposal will receive consideration this year; it’s our job to provide Minnesotans choices and options to improve their health and I’m committed to doing so.
Please continue to reach out with your thoughts on the issues important to you as the legislative session progresses.