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Minnesota GOP steps forward with first steps to address state health care crisis

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Republicans in the Minnesota House and Senate began the 2017 legislative session with a plan to provide immediate and temporary relief to the thousands of Minnesotans who are stuck with outrageous premium hikes and canceled policies in the chaotic individual health insurance market. On top of this immediate relief to Minnesotans, the plan proposes a handful of regulatory reforms to improve Minnesota's health care system over the long-term. These are just the first steps being proposed by Republicans to fix the present crisis created by the imposition of the Affordable Care Act regulations on the state's health care system. What are these first...

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New federal law expands health plan options for small employers

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In one of his last official acts, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act.  As summarized by the Washington Post, the bill “boosts funding for medical research, eases the development and approval of experimental treatments and reforms federal policy on mental health care.” Left unreported is a provision, tucked in at the very end of the bill, that allows small employers to establish a new type of health plan.  Specifically, the bill allows employers to establish a “health reimbursement arrangement” to reimburse employees who buy their own health insurance in the individual health insurance market.  These arrangements are more widely...

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Liberals Try to Scare Minnesotans On Health Care

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Obamacare is a disaster, and MNSure is a fiasco. Pretty much all Minnesotans know that. Obamacare/MNSure has led to higher premiums, larger deductibles and smaller networks. This fall the crisis became acute, which partly accounts for voters' rising up against the status quo last month. But liberals are always ready with misleading, or downright false, statistics. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports on a false claim by "the California-based Kaiser Family Foundation": More than one-in-five Minnesotans under age 65 had health problems last year that would give them a personal stake in the debate over repealing and replacing the federal health law. That's the...

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Is MNsure on Life Support After Election?

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One of the biggest questions raised by the election results this week is what it all means for the unpopular MNsure state health insurance exchange. Minnesota was among a handful of states that chose to develop and operate its own health insurance exchange following passage of the Affordable Care Act. But all of a sudden, the survival of both the ACA and MNsure may be on the line due to new political realities, according to the Star Tribune's prognosis. Republican control in Washington plus increased GOP power in St. Paul clouds the future for Minnesota’s MNsure health insurance exchange. Republicans in the U.S....

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Sticker Shock! Why Many Young People Still Reject Obamacare

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Why do so many young people still avoid Obamacare like the plague? The expectation was that the health insurance exchange would cash flow on the actuarial backs of millions of Millennials. But it hasn't worked out that way for obvious reasons, according to Generation Opportunity Policy Director David Barnes. We were promised that by this year’s open enrollment period, the Obamacare-marketplaces would be robust and stable. Instead, they are spiraling out of control as premiums rise by 25 percent and insurers and consumers decide they want no part in it. The pressure's on Washington with the media focusing on the new enrollment...

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When It Comes to Obamacare, Minnesota Is Not the Worst

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Patient Daily identifies the six states that have seen the largest increases in premium costs under Obamacare. Happily, Minnesota doesn't make the cut: Nationwide, health insurance costs are up by more than 25% under Obamacare. Happily, though, if you like your plan you can keep it. There may be one respect in which Minnesota's version of Obamacare, MNSure, is the worst anywhere: it has caused property taxes to rise. That may be a dimension of health care policy disaster that is unique to Minnesota....

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MNsure Triage as Website and Call Center Crash

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Thousands of Minnesotans already traumatized by up to 67 percent increases in individual health premiums experienced another shock today. The MNsure state health insurance exchange and help center intermittently crashed at the worst possible time, the start of the new enrollment season on November 1. News accounts report that a deluge of robocalls apparently flooded MNsure phone lines, but it's far from clear what's caused the technical problems that have dredged up bad memories of the disastrous launching of the state health insurance exchange three years ago. The breakdown is under investigation. The website at the state’s health insurance exchange opened for business at...

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Could Be Worse! Minnesota Has Only 4th Highest Obamacare Rate Hike

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Steep Affordable Care Act premium hikes and declining options through the MNsure state health insurance exchange have made headlines for days. Rate increases of 50 to 67 percent on the individual market forced a panicked Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton to recently admit "the reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for an increasing number of people." But there's always a silver lining. As the Pioneer Press points out, residents of a handful of other states have even worse premium increases to deal with. Minnesota’s 59 percent premium increases on its individual health insurance market have been shocking consumers and...

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Star Tribune’s health care “realities” need their own dose of reality

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The Star Tribunal Editorial Board recently tried to clear up a few "misunderstood health-care realities" about Minnesota’s troubled individual insurance market. Their editorial took subtle aim at countering criticisms of President Obama's health care law and the role Minnesota Democrats' have played in its disastrous roll out. All in all, they misfire and the realities they’re pushing need their own dose of reality. The editorial lists the following "realities" readers should know. MNsure is not a health plan or provider. It’s the individual health-insurance market, not MNsure, that’s in crisis. The state’s old high-risk pool was not health-care nirvana. By pointing out MNsure is not...

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Dayton Misfires in Misleading Attack on MNsure Critics

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Gov. Mark Dayton may regret his unusually blunt and candid assessment that “the reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable to increasing numbers of people.” It's true, of course, but Dayton has been backtracking ever since, under pressure for committing the truth when it comes to the fallout from MNsure, the state health insurance exchange. Dayton's  desperate attempt at damage control hit a low point in an op-ed published in the Star Tribune under the headline "Don't believe Republicans; MNsure is not the problem."  The governor doubled down by arguing the only way to fix MNsure is to...

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