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LETTER: MNsure among lowest premiums in nation

To the editor:

I found former Republican Rep. Hilda Betterman’s attack letter (Echo Press,-Nov. 4) on MNsure inaccurate and disturbing. Her letter was a clear attempt to misinform the public and score political points, while disregarding the poor health-care record of our current Representative, Jeff Backer.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce tells us that individual and small group policy holders make up 5.5 percent and 5.4 percent of the insurance market, respectively. Those are the people affected by the rate increases referenced by Mrs. Betterman. I don’t say that in an attempt to deemphasize this serious issue, but to provide context. Those individuals should be outraged by such a steep increase in their premiums, as I am.

In Minnesota’s small group market, which provides coverage to businesses with two to 100 full-time employees, the final average rate changes for 2016 range from a 12.6 percent decrease to a 5.6 percent increase. Individual policy holders will also note that Minnesota and MNsure still offer the lowest premiums of any of our neighboring states and among the lowest premiums in the nation.

How would that have changed if Rep. Backer had gotten his way and forced Minnesotans onto the federal exchanges that all of our neighboring states use? The premiums would be higher still. Furthermore, Rep. Backer voted with Republican House leaders in an attempt to eliminate MinnesotaCare, kicking 100,000 Minnesotans off their health insurance.

In contrast, Jay McNamar deserves our thanks. His actions in the Legislature not only helped improve access to care at critical access hospitals and nursing homes in our region, but he also voted to expand access to health insurance to 180,000 Minnesotans.

I heartily support Jay McNamar as a candidate for Minnesota House District 12A representative.

Adrian Ledermann

Brandon, MN