Minnesota Republican House leaders and DFL state leaders held parallel press conferences on October 5 to discuss rising health care costs. The Republican leaders identified solutions to address rising health care costs. Key among those was Matt Dean, Republican chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee and the speaker at the SD 49 Dinner Program on October 25.
The DFL leaders claimed the ballooning costs of MNsure are the fault of House Republicans. On the contrary, Democrats are solely responsible for MNsure. When MNsure was initially brought forward by the DFL, Republican proposals for improvement were blocked and not a single Republican in the legislature ultimately voted for it. Republican proposals put forward and passed by the House Republican Majority for improvement over the past two years have been held up.
Pictured below: House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin and Speaker Kurt Daudt were joined by MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee Co-Chair Greg Davids (left) and Health and Human Services Committee Chair Matt Dean (right) in highlighting Republican proposals to reduce the impact of rising health care costs.
The solutions offered by Republican leaders at their press conference fall into two categories:
- Reduce the MNsure tax by half, saving families $22 million over the next three years
- Use $35 million in leftover MCHA funds for direct premium relief
- Seek waiver or encourage federal government to waive federal tax penalties for buying a non-qualifying plan
- End surprise billing to ensure transparency in pricing
- Transition Minnesota to the federal exchange, saving millions in overhead costs and improving user experience
- Secure federal waiver to allow eligible Minnesotans to access tax credits off the MNsure exchange
- Grant flexibility to the Department of Commerce by allowing the commissioner to waive the five year waiting period for companies to re-enter the individual market—provided the commissioner decides it's in the best interest of consumers.
House Republicans have fought to lower health care costs.
Over the past two years, House Republicans successfully passed:
- A waiver request—that Governor Dayton has yet to follow-through on—to allow access to tax credits off of the MNsure exchange
- A waiver request that the Department of Human Services put minimal effort into that would have allowed Main Street businesses access to tax credits off of the disastrous small business MNsure exchange
- Legislation to eliminate Medical Assistance liens on seniors
- Stronger accountability including requiring MNsure meetings to comply with the state open meeting law
- Telemedicine expansion that will be a game-changer for expanding quality care and giving more choices to rural areas
- Legislation adding Minnesota to the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact making it easier for physicians to come to Minnesota
This past year alone, Democrats blocked bills that would have help ease some of the pain caused by rising health costs including:
- Transitioning Minnesota to the federal exchange which would save Minnesota millions in overhead costs and improve user experience
- Reduction in the premium withhold tax that included performance benchmarks to force MNsure to improve its technology functionality
- $50 million in premium tax relief, as well as an effort to accelerate the sunset of the provider tax, set to expire in 2019.
It's going to take action at the state and federal level to begin to address this crisis and bring down costs for Minnesota families.
It's important to note the clear contrast between Democrats and Republicans: Democrats are offering higher health care taxes and increasing public program enrollment that will further destroy the individual insurance market. Republicans are offering tax relief to immediately soften the blow of massive increases, and clear steps to increase health choices available for families.