The last week has been busy at the legislature, with health insurance premium relief being the main focus of our work.
Minnesota families purchasing insurance in the individual market are facing steep premium increases. These families need our help now.
Last week, I met Sheri Sexton who runs a dairy in Millville with her husband. Last year, the Sextons paid $1,580 a month for insurance coverage. This year, their premium has increased almost 40 percent to nearly $2,200 a month, with a $13,000 deductible. Vince is recovering from leukemia. Last year, Sheri was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer.
I also met Tracie Loeffler and John Donaghy, who live in St. Paul with their 14 year old son. Their premium has increased by 62 percent, and at $1,329 per month, now exceeds their monthly mortgage payment. On top of that, Tracie and John’s deductible has increased by 228 percent – from $4,000 to $13,100. They are paying for their premiums with their savings account and can’t do that forever.
We should do the right thing and help these families. Governor Dayton put forward a plan to provide immediate relief that would be retroactive to January 1. This is a bipartisan plan that Republican Speaker Kurt Daudt agreed to way back in December. Unfortunately, Speaker Daudt no longer seems interested in a bipartisan compromise.
The plan Republicans have instead put forward would delay relief to families until 2018. In addition, an amendment was added that would allow insurers to exclude coverage for cancer, diabetes, prenatal care and a host of other conditions from their health insurance plans. The last thing Minnesotans need is for-profit insurance that won’t help them when they get sick, have an accident or start a family.
Minnesotans need our help now, not later. That’s why I’m working with Governor Dayton to help get families relief and to oppose measures that will delay relief and make the individual insurance market even worse. This should be an area where Democrats and Republicans can work together.
Your Legislators Program
Recently, I joined fellow legislators to discuss what’s happening at the Capitol on Pioneer Public TV’s Your Legislators. You can watch the show here: http://video.pioneer.org/video/2365932611.
Please contact me with your questions, comments and concerns. I appreciate hearing from you!