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Green: MNsure rate hikes, insurance caps spell trouble for Minnesotans

ST. PAUL – House Republicans are sounding the alarm over a looming health insurance crisis following Friday’s news that final MNsure rates will rise 50 percent or more for 2017.

The latest rate increases are on top of hikes of up to 17 percent and 49 percent in the first two years of MNsure premium pricing adjustments. More than 75 percent of people who buy health insurance on their own do not receive any financial assistance from MNsure, undermining MNsure’s claims that tax credits will offset massive rate increases.

“It’s time for MNsure advocates to get a grip on reality and face the fact they can’t just keep spending more taxpayer dollars on a system that has been an utter flop,” said Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston. “This program has been an albatross around the state’s neck since the day of its failed launch a few years ago. MNsure has caused nothing but heartaches and headaches for many Minnesotans who can’t afford to suffer any longer from Democrats’ broken promises. The sooner we can stop funding MNsure and move to something that would actually deliver results, the better.”

It also was announced Friday that the Minnesota Department of Commerce has approved enrollment caps that will limit Minnesotans’ access to federal financial assistance and ability to find health care coverage.

Enrollment caps limit the number of new enrollees for certain insurers who sell insurance on the individual market. Due to MNsure’s inability to accurately process applications in a timely manner, Minnesotans who attempt to enroll through MNsure could be left without coverage through no fault of their own. Those who enroll directly with an insurer typically receive confirmation of coverage immediately.

Earlier this year, Democrats proposed hiking the MNsure Tax by $40 million and raising health care costs by $1 billion through permanently restoring the sick tax. Meantime, House Republicans proposed legislation to reduce the MNsure Tax, which would have saved families at least $22 million over the next three years. The measure passed the House during the 2016 session, but was vocally opposed by DFL legislators.

It seems that many of our elected representatives have forgotten that they were elected to serve the American people, not rule them.

Lately our federal government has been operating against the will of the people. It has been plunging our country, our children, and our grandchildren into a hole of debt almost beyond the hope of recovery. At the same time, it is making every effort to swallow up any area of the private sector possible. These missteps and failing policies of the current administrations are on display for all of us to see. This failure cannot be denied, and has had devastating effects on our great nation.

Yet our elected representatives in Minnesota have followed suite with Washington's "Big Government" mindset; rather than embracing and implementing polices that have a proven track record of ensuring prosperity. This mindset is based on doing more of the same; meaning staying on road that brought us here, and expecting it to bring us back. However, people are beginning to wonder if the government really wants us to get out of the current situation.

The Government’s answer so far has been to spend our way out of debt and create jobs by passing more and more legislation. Increased government spending has never been the answer, and is not the answer now. Such spending puts everyone into more debt. Raising taxes and creating more red tape for business owners doesn't work, and it has made Minnesota an unfriendly place to own and do business.

The consequence has been, and continues to be business owners fleeing the state, while those who stay are fighting harder than ever to keep their businesses afloat. It is not the government’s place in a free society to create jobs. It is more fitting that the heads of state stay out of the private sector. They should focus on securing the freedoms that allow our businesses to flourish, and our capitalist society to really be a "Free Market".

We have the answer. Spend less and cut taxes. That is, and always has been the successful solution to obtain a healthy private sector; which is the core of a healthy economy. Cuts will have to be made in spending and programs will have to be cut. Although this may be hard, we cannot continue to make our state be the safety net for every failure and bad decision that is made. We need to stop overreaching; imposing restrictions and taking from the people the things that enable them to be successful.

We need to be supportive of the determination, hard work, sacrifice, and God-honoring mentality that have made this country great and if maintained, will make it great for generations to home.

These things will work wherever they are applied correctly, from the federal government, through the state level, all the way down to the townships. But they have to start at the grassroots level; where they are the strongest. Where they are lived out and applied day to day, and face to face. Where the American people are ready to do what's right.

The next step is for us, the American people, to elect people willing to serve and represent us as we wish to be represented. Such people must have character, determination, conviction, and common sense. They should be sensible, honest, humble, and have integrity. Officials who put the people they represent before lobbyists, special interest groups, and even themselves and are not afraid to start making the right decisions; hard decisions. These are the informed decisions made by those willing to be held accountable.

This November, elections may hold the future of our country in the balance. Change is needed, and not the change that was promised in 2008 & 2012, but real change that starts here, at home.