This Week in the MN House: Reinsurance, SS Tax, MNLARS

  • Democrats' epic flip-flop on reinsurance begins on Tuesday, Feb. 12, with the first hearing in the Commerce Committee for DFL Rep. Laurie Halverson's bill (HF629) to extend reinsurance for three years. Rep. Greg Davids (R) is the second co-author on the bill and several other Republican members have also crossed the aisle to sign on as well. No doubt Republican members on the Commerce Committee will be reminding their DFL colleagues all of the things they've said previously about reinsurance.

In 2017, Republicans in the Minnesota House established a reinsurance plan to pool the risk for insurance companies willing to offer coverage under MNSure. It significantly reduced MNSure policy rates. Given that health plans must submit their rates to the Department of Commerce for review in April, the legislature and the governor need to approve a reinsurance plan for 2020 sometime in March. This is significantly earlier than any of the other budget decisions.

Last week, Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, chief author of the 2017 reinsurance bill, sent a letter to Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley urging the department to immediately begin modeling what would happen to Minnesota's individual insurance market if the legislature and the governor do not renew a reinsurance program.

In response to questioning last week, Commissioner Kelley stated, “I have not been asked by anybody in the Governor’s office to model that and I have not asked the staff to model that.”

  • On Thursday, Feb. 14, in the Taxes Committee, there will be hearings on four Social Security tax relief bills. One is HF56
    the bill introduced by Rep. Tony Jurgens (R), which many additional Republican members have co-authored.

minnesota-license-plate.jpg• Lastly, on Thursday the Legislative Audit Commission will hear a long-awaited Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) report titled “Factors That Contributed to MNLARS Problems.” The Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) launched in July 2017, replacing a 30-year-old legacy system to process vehicle title and registration transactions. The system has encountered technical complications since that time and remains not yet fully functional.

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