MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Republicans won majority control of the Minnesota Senate during the 2016 election.
Their party now controls both the State House and the State Senate.
They still need Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton to sign their bills, but Republicans now have complete control of the legislature.
Their top priority: repealing Obamacare, and abolishing MNsure.
“We are hitting the ground running,” said incoming Republican leader Paul Gazelka, a State Senator from Nisswa. “Take Minnesota back to being the number-one place that you would, that provided health care for Minnesotans.”
Senate Republicans took the unusual step of creating three separate health care committees.
One is the Health and Human Services Finance Committee, which will dismantle MNsure — Minnesota’s health exchange.
Another is the Human Services Reform Committee, which will construct a new state health care system.
And the third is the Aging and Long Term Care Committee.
But Dayton says MNsure is working better, and helping more Minnesotans than ever before.
“The average wait time has been measured in seconds,” Dayton said. “If they’re going to be attacking MNsure and wanting to abolish it, they should at least do it on the basis of the current situation, not [what happened] three years ago.”
Minnesota currently has the lowest number of uninsured people ever, and Republican leaders cannot guarantee it will stay that way.
“My goal is to provide the care that we have, the best care that we can provide, with access to the most amount of people for a price that we can afford,” Gazelka said.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Minnesotans are facing sticker shock over a sudden, steep hike in monthly health care premiums.
Dayton will take one more shot before Thanksgiving to call a special session to figure out how to fix it.