When lawmakers get back to the State Capitol after M-L-K Day, they’ll continue wrangling over relief for people hit with big increases in their health insurance premiums. Republicans in the Senate passed their bill last week and the House will probably do the same later this week, but then comes likely a big battle with Democratic Governor Mark Dayton. Republicans want premium relief to be based on people’s income. Dayton says that will take months and tens of millions of dollars to implement. Republicans want what they call the first steps toward long-term reform of health insurance in Minnesota. Democrats and Dayton say that’s way too complicated to do this quickly, so send the relief to struggling Minnesotans immediately and then work out the rest, later in the session. Republicans fear if they don’t start on it now, it might never happen.
Some reforms Republicans propose are very controversial, like having the state pay for catastrophic cases to keep everyone else’s health insurance premiums down. Dayton says it would cost half a billion dollars every two years and he will not agree to it.