St. Paul, Minn. – Senator Dan Schoen (DFL – Cottage Grove) voted no to a flawed premium relief bill, citing several provisions that may hurt rural Minnesota hospitals and providers. “Everyone agrees that we needed to provide premium relief to Minnesotans facing skyrocketing health care costs,” Sen. Schoen said. “However, the numerous problems with this bill, outweighed the one-time relief it provided to our citizens.”
“The provision to allow for-profit HMO’s into the state system has not been vetted – it hasn’t even been heard in any Senate committee,” Sen. Schoen said. “Interested parties, such as rural hospitals or providers, were not given an opportunity to weigh in on this. We don’t know what the for-profit inclusion will do to our state. We’re all tired of insurance companies who have billions in reserves continuing to raise premium prices and this may be a good move, but it is drastically different than anything we’ve ever done in Minnesota. We had no fiscal notes and I am afraid this provision will bleed profits from public programs.”
“For profit HMO’s role is to maximize profits,” Schoen continued. “They need to increase profits by charging more for services, or decreasing benefits. The bottom line is we just don’t know what the implication of this provision is. Big changes are underway, but rushing through without public input and full understanding of what these proposals will accomplish is not good governance. Thankfully, relief will happen for those Minnesotans who had to purchase their own insurance on the individual marketplace. But Minnesotans didn’t win with a continued style of legislation that leaves most people out. In the end, we all may pay a price for that.”
For questions, Senator Schoen can be reached at (651) 297-8060.