MN GOP-DFL Clash Over Health Care Reform On First Working Day Of Legislative Session

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Rep. Melissa Hortman

Minnesota House Media

Rep. Melissa Hortman

Minnesota House Republicans wanted a vote on a detailed health care plan they had unveiled only hours before. Doing so would require a two-thirds vote to suspend the rules.

DFL members opposed the move because the bill had not had any public testimony and had not been vetted in committee. Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL) recalled that Republicans had done something similar in the waning moments of the 2016 session and the result was a flawed tax bill Governor Mark Dayton refused to sign and a bonding bill that died because questions were still being raised about it when time ran out on the session.

House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman said the Republican bill was “not ready for prime time.”

Rep Joe Hoppe (R) admitted that the bill contained provisions that the DFL would not necessarily like. But said there were provisions in it that his party didn’t like as well.

A straight line party vote of 75-55 meant the Republican plan would need to be heard in committee first.

DFL brings up Gov Dayton’s proposal

Video at top: House floor debate on health insurance bills
Video at bottom: Minnesota Republican legislative leaders announce their proposal hours before the floor debate

Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL) then brought forth a bill that was mostly Governor Dayton’s proposal to provide relief to people who were seeing large increases in their health insurance premiums that were not eligible for federal tax credits. Republicans indicated they would not agree to suspend the rules for the DFL bill.

Rep. Matt Dean (R) complained that the money to pay for the premium reductions was coming out of the health care access fund. Liebling reminded Dean that Dayton would have rather seen the money come from the budget surplus, but changed that because House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R) wanted it to come from the health care access fund.

Rep Nick Zerwas (R) gave a speech calling the insurance exchange operated by Minnesota (MNsure) “a disaster”. Liebling countered that MNsure had improved quite a bit since it was first launched, it was not a disaster and Republicans were intent on perpetuating that mythology.

Liebling eventually withdrew her motion to have the rules suspended for the DFL bill.

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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