Quote of the Week:
"The crisis has reached crisis levels!" Department of Human Services testifying on workforce shortages in the health care sector.
2022 Session Convenes
The 201 members of the Minnesota Legislature convened on Monday for what is expected to be a historic session. Policymakers have a HUGE $7.7 billion projected budget surplus. However, because a two-year budget was passed last session, they don’t have to do anything with the surplus if they can’t reach agreement. DFLers want spending increases in a variety of programs while Republicans are calling for tax cuts. If they fail to reach agreement on a package that satisfies both sides, the surplus will simply stay in state coffers and be available in the 2023 session.
This will be the first session for Senator Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) as Majority Leader and Senator Melissa Franzen (DFL-Edina) as Minority Leader. Miller replaces former Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake), who stepped down to run for Governor. Franzen replaces former Minority Leader Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury), who stepped down as Leader because of family demands.
Reinsurance Bill Introduced
A reinsurance bill was introduced in the House this week. HF3002 (Haley, R-Red Wing), extends the current Minnesota premium security plan through the 2023 benefit year. It provides for an attachment point of $50,000, a coinsurance rate of 80% and a reinsurance cap of $250,000. There is not a Senate companion bill yet. Reinsurance was an issue that went down to the wire in the 2021 session and its extension through the 2022 benefit year was part of the final negotiations. The debate over private health insurance and the role of reinsurance to maintaining affordable premiums for consumers is expected to again be a topic that will spark sharp differences of opinion among lawmakers.