Poppe: Legislature showing signs of working togetherPublished 9:31am Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Last Thursday the Minnesota House of Representatives passed HF251 to extend the Farmer-Lender Mediation Act with overwhelming bipartisan support.
I am glad we were able to swiftly move this bill through the Agriculture Policy Committee at the beginning of the month to the House floor in such a short amount of time.
Another bipartisan bill on track for passage soon is HF5, which creates an online marketplace for individuals and businesses to purchase quality, affordable health care.
The marketplace, or “exchange,” will allow Minnesotans to compare, choose and buy private insurance plans or enroll in public programs like Medical Assistance and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Subsidies and tax credits will be available to eligible individuals and small businesses to make coverage more affordable.
If our state fails to approve final legislation by March 31, the federal government would impose an exchange that would not necessarily work best for Minnesota. Instead of a federal “one size fits all” marketplace, our goal is to create an exchange that suits the needs of our state. Minnesota is well known as a national leader when it comes to delivering high quality, affordable care to its citizens. We should keep it that way.
Before the Legislature passes along a final bill to Governor Dayton to sign, the House and the Senate must reconcile any differences between their respective legislation. Right now, each chamber takes different actions to fund the exchange, so there is more work to be done. However, I am confident we can meet the March 31 deadline and make sure Minnesota remains a national leader in health care coverage.
The Legislature is not alone in its efforts to keep our state healthy. Last week, the city of Austin’s second annual “Paint the Town Pink” event raised more than $110,500 for The Hormel Institute’s world-renowned cancer research — nearly twice the amount raised last year.
It’s gratifying to see so many individuals, businesses, and organizations in our town come together for such an important cause.
As the legislative session continues, I am hopeful that lawmakers can follow the shining example set by everyone who participated in this year’s “Paint the Town Pink” event. When we put aside our differences and work together towards the common good, we can make a positive impact on people’s lives.
If you have feedback or ideas about how we can keep our state healthy and deliver quality care, please contact me by phone at 651-296-4193, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by postal mail at 487 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.