ST. PAUL. Minn. (WCCO) – A simmering debate over skyrocketing health care premiums boiled over into anger Wednesday at the state capitol.
Democrats and Republicans are trading insults and accusations over who’s to blame for the sudden, sharp monthly premium hikes.
So far, they’re not any closer to a special session to fix it.
Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt accused Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton of a “dereliction of duty.”
“He ought to have a command center set up 24/7 with a 1,000 people in trying to solve this problem every minute of the day until he’s got it solved,” Daudt said.
The GOP leader says that if he finds out that people aren’t working on a fix around the clock, he’ll call for Dayton’s resignation.
Some 250,000 Minnesotans will start enrolling for insurance through MNsure Nov. 1, but their choices will be limited — and expensive.
Most are facing steep monthly rate hikes.
“I take it very very seriously, and I deplore it,” Dayton said, at a news conference Wednesday morning.
The governor and Democrats have proposed an emergency fix: It would use $300 million from the state surplus so that no family would spend more than 10 percent of its income on premiums.
But Dayton says he’s waiting for Republicans to make the next move.
“I don’t consider myself to blame for the fact that this process has not moved forward anymore than it has,” Dayton said.
There’s been a flurry of letters and press conferences, but no progress toward a special session.
Daudt says he’s sick of it.
“I’m going to wait by my phone,” he said. “And he damn well better pick up the phone and call me. It’s time to solve the problem.”
A spokesperson for the governor says Dayton is not going to dignify Daudt’s “temper tantrum” with a response.
No matter what’s happening at the capitol, there’s still a lot of people out there who may have trouble with their insurance.
Here’s a couple of things to remember:
First off, while it’s terrible what’s happening to about 250,000 Minnesotans, it doesn’t affect 95 percent of Minnesota consumers.
It’s also important to check in with MNsure. Most of the people who apply will get immediate subsides that could dramatically lower the monthly bill.