The Minnesota Senate, following Monday’s passage in the House, votes tonight on a key part of Republicans’ health insurance reform plan. It’s called “reinsurance” and means the state would pick up the cost of care for seriously ill Minnesotans, in an effort to limit increases in everyone else’s health insurance premiums. Governor Mark Dayton wants assurances from H-M-Os that rates won’t go up more than a certain amount. Senate Republican Majority Leader Paul Gazelka responds, “It’s difficult for them to predict the exact rates, other than the fact that reinsurance will make those rates substantially lower.” The estimated price tag in the next state budget would be about 300 million dollars.
Governor Dayton also wants assurances that HMOs won’t pull out of the individual health insurance market, a problem that has plagued the state-run MNsure exchange. Gazelka says he’s met with leaders of the major insurance companies who tell him they’re confident they’ll remain in the market, unless the federal government “does something unforeseen.” He adds, “Reinsurance is an important part to ensure stability in the present market. Without reinsurance being done in March, the chances of them being here are reduced dramatically.”
Here’s Gazelka’s scrum with reporters after Tuesday’s Senate floor session: