Letter to the Editor RTSA

Since I was first elected in 2016, I have been fighting to make health care more affordable. My priority has and will continue to be ensuring that my communities have access to quality healthcare, close to home, that they can afford.

I have authored numerous bills to lower health care costs and make health care affordable for our community and all Minnesotans. The proposals include a rate disparity study and recommendation for more equitable insurance rating areas, an excess premium tax credit proposal, and I supported our bill a few years ago to allow Agricultural Co-Ops to offer health insurance. I have had small-business owners and farmers come to St. Paul to testify many times on the impact high insurance rates have for our community.

To this end, I have always supported reinsurance as a mechanism to hold down rates. Reinsurance, first passed by the Republican-controlled House and Senate and allowed to become law by then Gov. Mark Dayton, resulted in premiums being lowered 20% on average and stabilizing the individual market. The program has been so successful in advancing a stable and affordable market that it has since been replicated in more than a dozen other states.

The future of Minnesota’s successful and copied program is up in the air in the current budget negotiations, even though the reinsurance program is already funded. This has become a dangerous bargaining chip and one that I will fight to have taken off the table.

My colleagues and I are pushing all parties -- the House majority, the Senate, and the Governor’s Office -- to make sure continuation of reinsurance is part of the final budget deal. Turning our back on this successful program will increase health insurance costs for rural Minnesotans. At a time when we are still recovering from the pandemic, we don’t need to create additional financial hardships for people. Let’s all work together to get this done!

Barb Haley

Red Wing

House District 21A

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