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Republicans lay foundation for necessary health care reform

Republicans took the first step toward significantly reforming Minnesota’s health care market Friday, introducing Senate File 1, the 2017 Health Care Emergency Aid and Access Act. This legislation offers immediate premium relief for Minnesotans who have been faced with outrageous premium increases as a result of Obamacare, as well as several key reforms that will give way to an expanded and more stable insurance market.

This legislation goes a long way in addressing the concerns I have heard from constituents across my district. We have a system in place that is not working, and I am proud that the first bill introduced in the Senate offers realistic relief and reform. Hardworking families are hurting and this legislation looks out for those who simply want affordable health coverage.

The Health Care Emergency Aid and Access Act brings relief to those who need it now, while also working toward expanding coverage options, stabilizing Minnesota’s individual insurance market, and paving the way for more significant reform down the road. These key pieces include: $285 million in premium relief for Minnesotans who buy health insurance through the individual market; $15 million to cover the costs associated with continuing care, so patients currently undergoing specific treatments may continue these critical procedures without fear of losing their doctors; allowing for-profit HMOs to enter the individual market, expanding coverage options; and eliminating surprise billing and adding federal law conformity allowing small businesses to offer a direct contribution toward employee health insurance premiums, among others.

The bill is expected to be acted on by the House and Senate expeditiously, before being presented to Gov. Dayton over the next two weeks.