Letter: Applebaum refutes health care policy flyers

To the Editor:

I’m disappointed that my opponent has resorted to using scare tactics and lies in her campaign for the legislature. She recently mailed out two flyers attacking me for votes on health care policy that she did not properly cite – probably because those votes never occurred.

First, I’d like to present some actual facts that debunk the falsehoods in my opponent’s irresponsible and desperate attack ads: (i) I never voted for MNSure – it was created before I was elected in 2014; (ii) I never voted for any executive compensation plan for MNSure executives – which was also decided before I was elected – and actually voted to deny Gov. Dayton’s political appointees any pay increase (SF 174); and (iii) I never voted for any MNSure-related fixes because the House Republican majority that my opponent seeks to join never presented any in its two years of failed leadership.

Next, unlike my opponent, I do have a plan to reduce the unacceptable health care premium rate increases that will impact the 5 percent of Minnesotans who get their health insurance through the MNSure exchange.  For starters, there are roughly 100,000 Minnesotans who can purchase coverage through MNSure with tax credits but who are not doing so. We have to increase awareness and make it easier for everyone eligible for such credits, which will lower and even eliminate their premium increases, to do so. But Minnesotans ineligible for premium-reducing tax credits need relief, too. That’s why I support providing immediate relief to all Minnesotans with insurance premiums greater than 10 percent of their income by delivering a cash rebate so that no Minnesota family will be burdened with unaffordable health care insurance expenses.

Instead of playing politics, I have demonstrated a commitment to addressing the long-term issues that are driving up health care costs-both inside the individual market and outside of it. A major factor in the cost of health care is the obscene prices of prescription drugs and I have supported – and will continue to support – bills to reign these in. I also supported – and will continue to support – measures that would have forced drug companies to disclose their costs, prohibit surprise billing from providers and crack down on Medical Assistance fraud and abuse. Down the road, I believe we should consider two approaches to further stabilize the individual market in Minnesota: allowing Minnesotans to buy into MinnesotaCare regardless of their income and creating a reinsurance program that has been successfully implemented in Alaska.

Unfortunately for my opponent, pointing fingers and falsely blaming others won’t fix our health care system. Minnesotans deserve real, workable short-term and long-term solutions that will improve access to health care and improve quality, while reducing costs for everyone. I am the candidate who has proposed and advocated for actual solutions and am committed to implementing them into law. With your help by voting for me on – or before – Nov. 8, I will be able to do so during the next two years.

Rep. Jon Applebaum

Applebaum represents House District 44B, which includes Minnetonka, Plymouth and Woodland.