MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday that he is working on a temporary fix to help those hardest hit by skyrocketing health care premiums.
The governor created national headlines last week when he said the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable.
Dayton’s comment was even mentioned in a tweet by Republican candidate Donald Trump.
The 250,000 people who buy their insurance in the individual market in Minnesota are facing rate hikes of more than 50 percent.
Some 98,000 of those make too much money to qualify for tax credits under MNsure.
Dayton did not offer any specifics Wednesday, saying he would be able to announce his proposal later this week or early next week.
The governor says his proposal would provide temporary relief for 2017, but that it’s really up to the Congress in Washington to provide a permanent fix.
“Given the magnitude of the problem, there are 32 states going through some version of what we are experiencing here,” Dayton said. “So, it really requires a federal solution.”
But the governor says he working with among others, such as Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly and the Budget Commissioner Myron Frans, to provide immediate relief for those facing the biggest hikes.
Dayton says rolling back 2017 premiums to 2016 rates would cost $590 million.
“We are looking at the cost and where that money would come from,” the governor said.
In an op-ed in Wednesday’s Star Tribune, Dayton urged Minnesotans to vote for legislators who will work with him, not against him.
Prominent Republican consultant Ben Golnik fired back on Twitter, saying the current crisis is an argument against one party control.
The governor said one option could be the Democratic House proposal, which would provide rebates for anyone whose health insurance costs top 10 percent of their income.
Any fix, he added, will have to wait until after Election Day on Nov. 8.
“I will not going to call a special session before the election,” Dayton said. “It would just be mayhem.”
The governor also hopes that despite the partisan divide in St. Paul and Washington, a relief package can be achieved.
“Well, I hope that after the election we can rise to the urgency of the situation and we will have to have bipartisan support,” Dayton said.
This is the real issue here: The Affordable Care Act is so divisive that it’s really not clear if a bipartisan, temporary fix can be achieved.