Thursday, May 17, 2007

We're all about Health Insurance Today. HF 464--Education Minnesota's statewide health insurance pool--has been on the House floor for the past five-plus hours and the discussion is as illuminating as ever.

There is good news in that the amendment we informed you about yesterday--offered by Representative Diane Loeffler (DFL-Minneapolis)--was adopted on a voice vote. This amendment, while it doesn't go quite as far as the amendment offered by Senator Linda Scheid (DFL-Brooklyn Park) and adopted in that body, it does provide many of the same safeguards as that amendment. Under the Loeffler amendment, the Minnesota Department of Commerce will have the authority to review, approve, and regulate after approval the proposed self-insured pool. Further, if Education Minnesota decided to establish a self-insured pool, it must have sufficient reserves before it can begin operations.

I want to thank all of you who contacted your State Representatives urging adoption of the Loeffler amendment. I heard from a number of legislators that they had received the message and were impressed with it.

Progress on the larger budget picture is moving forward, backwards, or sideways depending upon your perspective. It appears that the Senate will recall HF 2245--the E-12 budget package they passed yesterday--from the House and bring it back to the Senate floor for further consideration and possible amendment. How much change will be undertaken has yet to be seen. Legislative leadership has been meeting with the Governor in an attempt to put together a "macro" budget package. The E-12 bill passed by the Senate yesterday had very few of the Governor's initiatives and also capped QComp. Clearly, the Governor would like to change this situation, but it is my guess that the Legislature will force him to "buy" his programs with new money, as opposed to re-channeling money currently in the bill toward them.

And let's not forget that the tax bill remains out there.

It's a few minutes before 6 PM and although I'm no Eugene O'Neill, it may be another Long Day's Journey into Night as the session lurches toward an ending.

In another matter, I had Deb Griffiths distribute a data run I prepared and you should have received it. Given the data I was working with, it was difficult to make it make sense. I am continuing to work on presentation instruments that will provide you with an accurate description of the bill's financial effects. Call or e-mail with any questions. Thanks.

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