Minnesota Lawmakers Vote on Health Insurance Proposal

January 20, 2017 10:55 AM

Thursday at the state Capitol, House lawmakers passed a bill to help Minnesotans pay for skyrocketing health insurance premiums on the individual market.

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Most lawmakers agree they need to act fast to get relief to the 125,000 Minnesotans facing huge increases.

House lawmakers passed a Republican-backed measure similar to what was passed in the Senate last week.

Under that $450 million plan, insurance customers would pay their bills up front and then apply for rebates. It includes $300 million from budget reserve and $150 million from a general fund.

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However, Republicans want those rebates to be income-based.

Gov. Mark Dayton and fellow Democrats say the scaled relief is too cumbersome and could mean residents wouldn’t receive financial help until next year.

On Tuesday, Dayton again urged Republican lawmakers to adopt his plan, which he says would give anybody who doesn't qualify for federal tax subsidies a 25 percent immediate rebate.

He invited several people to the capitol to help make his case.

“We can't wait another year for premium relief,” Tracie Loeffler said. “For us this started two years ago. We tightened everything we could just to get through last year's increases and we don't know how we're supposed to come up with an additional $10,000 for our deductible increase on top of our son's brand new $6,400 braces.”

However, Republican lawmakers say they want a long term fix, not just a Band-Aid.

Now, the House and Senate will have to iron out any differences before sending a bill to Dayton for him to sign or veto.


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