Bitter health insurance debate erupts in Minnesota House

Published 5:32 am Thursday, March 21, 2019

ST. PAUL — A bitter, partisan debate erupted on the Minnesota House floor when Republicans tried to bring up a health care reinsurance bill that House Democrats oppose as a giveaway to the insurance industry.

Republicans passed a $549 million reinsurance plan to hold down individual marketplace premiums when they controlled the Legislature in 2017. A bill the Senate approved last week would re-extend it three years.

Republican Rep. Greg Davids tried a procedural maneuver Wednesday to pull the Senate bill out of committee so it could get a floor vote, saying the program works. His motion failed 45-79 after nearly two hours of debate.

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The new House Democratic majority backs a different approach by Gov. Tim Walz that would give premium relief directly to Minnesotans who get insurance through the MNsure exchange.