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Letter to Editor: Utke and Green support insurance companies instead of consumers

A recent letter to the editor from Sen. Paul Utke glowingly discussed health insurance legislation pushed this year by him and Republicans, like Rep. Steve Green.

Regardless of the claims Utke makes, after these supposed Republican "reforms," many Minnesotans may pay more next year for health insurance.

Under the Republican "reinsurance" plan, a two-year, $542 million handout was given to insurance companies in the hope of lower rates. What Utke doesn't tell you is that with a 25 percent premium discount disappearing at the end of the year, this will in many cases negate any temporary premium relief.

Further, Utke and Green worked to allow for-profit health insurance companies to operate in Minnesota. Now we're seeing companies move money from their reserves — which are supposed to reduce premiums — to their for-profit accounts, which can then be funneled to executives' pocketbooks.

Minnesotans need affordable care, not policies increasing profits of insurance companies. There are better options on the table to provide lower premiums. One of these would give Minnesotans the opportunity to "buy-in" to MinnesotaCare. Under this plan, consumers could take advantage of lower, but unsubsidized premiums, and could access a vast network of quality providers, especially in greater Minnesota. Unfortunately, Republicans refused to consider this idea.

For Utke to say Republicans have "delivered on promises" regarding insurance premiums is completely disingenuous. Minnesotans deserve health care they can afford, not hollow Republican rhetoric. It's time for him and Steve Green to prioritize people over corporations, and start collaborating on real solutions.