Patients Right to Shop
One of the biggest reasons the United States has such a high cost of care in the healthcare industry stems from the actions of both Democrats and Republicans. Both parties have been lobbying for a more socialist form of healthcare nudging us ever closer to a single-payer system run by the Government. This year I reintroduced the “Patient Right to Shop Act.” This bill aims at opening up the marketplace of healthcare to the consumer so they can make the best choice for their situation. Instead of going to the hospital and getting a bill in the mail a month later with whatever price the hospital and insurance company worked out, we should have upfront pricing. Think of it like going to the eye doctor; you see the sign in the window for the cost of the exam, the frames all have listed prices, and so do the lenses. You leave knowing exactly what you paid, and the service you received.
Instead of creating Big Government to regulate and restrict the market, we need to open the market back up and empower the consumer to make decisions based on price and quality. With all of the new regulations, and price restrictions being placed on prescriptions we are simply creating better relationships between healthcare lobbyists and legislators. Insurance companies and unelected bureaucrats should not be setting the cost of care in the State of Minnesota, you - the consumer - should.
Reform to our Election Process
This week I introduced a bill aimed at reforming our election process here in Minnesota. Specifically, we hope to accomplish this by changing the way in which we allocate our electoral college votes. Instead of a “winner takes all” system - based on who wins the popular vote - this bill would allocate our electoral college votes by Congressional Districts. Maine has done this since the 1972 Presidential Election and Nebraska has assigned votes this way since the nineties. This bill put Minnesota back on the national stage. Instead of a guarantee for a Presidential candidate to win all of our Electoral College votes they have to fight in each district for those votes. That is one reason Nebraska and Maine usually have the media spotlight during the General Elections with candidates from both parties making multiple stops in the states.
This bill, in addition to other legislation my Republican colleagues have introduced, aims to create a more fair electoral system. By implementing these common-sense ideas like requiring a voter ID, and following our State laws on elections, we can restore trust in our elections.
Governor Announces Timeline to End Lockdowns
This week the Governor announced that he would be rolling out a plan to Reopen Minnesota. For 421 days the Governor has held emergency powers, and has refused to give them out even when the science supports opening the state. The announcement comes as most at-risk Minnesotans - meaning seniors, long-term care residents, assisted living residents, educators, and front-line workers - have gotten their vaccines. Nearly 90 percent of Minnesotans over the age of 65 have gotten at least one dose. We are at the precipice of Herd immunity.
The three-step process will end nearly all state COVID-19 restrictions by May 28, and end the statewide masking requirement by July 1 at the latest.
Step one takes place at noon on May 7th. It includes initial steps to relax some restrictions, primarily in outdoor settings.
- Removes limits for outdoor dining, events, and other get-togethers, and ends the mask requirement outdoors except at large venues with over 500 people.
- Eliminates the state-established mandatory closing time for bars, restaurants, and food and beverage service at other places of public accommodation.
The second step begins on May 28. The remaining capacity and distancing limits will come to an end, including indoor events and gatherings. The requirements that will remain include:
- Face coverings indoors and for outdoor events that exceed 500 people.
- There will be no new safety requirements for businesses, though they must maintain their plans to keep their employees and customers safe – as they have from the beginning of the pandemic – guided only by a minimal universal state guidance document.
The third step takes place once 70 percent of Minnesotans age 16 years and older – 3,087,404 Minnesotans – get at least one dose of the vaccine, but no later than July 1.
- The remaining face-covering requirement and the requirement for preparedness plans will end. Work on vaccines will continue, and local jurisdictions and entities may set their own mask policies.
However, the Governor still intends to keep the Safe Learning Plan for schools in place until the end of the school year. Additionally, the Governor intends to keep the eviction moratorium and a ban on price gouging. Local jurisdictions and businesses may still require masks and have other requirements beyond July 1. Target has already announced they intend to require masks in their stores beyond July 1. Walz needs to follow the science and end these emergency powers today, you can watch my comments on the Governor's Chapter 12 Powers HERE.
RentHelpMN is Now Open for Applications for up to 15 months of taxpayer-funded rent and utilities.
The Minnesota Dept of Housing announced that RentHelpMN is now open and accepting applications. RentHelpMN makes it possible for eligible renters to request taxpayers' financial assistance to get caught up on overdue rent and utilities dating back to March 13, 2020. It also makes provisions for those at risk of falling behind on rent payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please note that RentHelpMN is in Phase One, in which people with past due rent who meet eligibility requirements are invited to apply. If you are a property owner with tenants behind on rent or utilities, please refer your tenants to this website to see if they qualify. If you are landlord looking for assistance in unpaid back rent please click HERE to see if you qualify.
To apply for RentHelpMN, please visit renthelpmn.org or call 211. The 211 helpline has dedicated multilingual staff to answer questions about RentHelpMN, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Visit renthelpmn.org to learn more about the program and eligibility requirements and to apply.