Republicans Unveil 2017 Health Care Emergency Aid And Access Act
According to a press release from the MN Senate Republicans, republican leaders held a press conference Thursday to unveil the details of the 2017 Health Care Emergency Aid and Access Act, which they call File 1. The Health Care Emergency Aid and Access Act is aimed at delivering relief to Minnesotans struggling with their premiums. Several republicans including Rep. Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska, Chair of the House Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee authored House File 1. It was chief authored by Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee.
The bill would provide $300 million in premium relief to help reduce premiums for Minnesotans on the individual market. According to the release “for the first three months, all eligible individuals would qualify for a 25% premium reduction. For the remainder of 2017, premium reductions would be limited to only those making less than 800% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG)—Individuals who exceed that threshold ($95,040 per year for an individual, $194,400 for a family of four) would not qualify for premium assistance. Premium relief would be administered on a monthly basis by the Minnesota Management and Budget Office in order to determine income eligibility.”
The reform portion is aimed to address access, competition, and transparency. $15 million of the $300 million appropriation would cover the cost of continuing care for those patients that are currently engaged in a course of treatment.
A few of the other key provisions will include ending surprise billing, conforming with federal law and allow small businesses to offer a direct contribution toward health insurance.
In two weeks the 2017 Health Care Emergency Aid and Access Act is expected to enter the conference committee process for public negotiations with the Governor and his administration.