During the week of Jan. 28 the House Human Service Committees will be considering changes in health care coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Many people in our state who fall below the poverty line don’t have access to quality health care. Currently, because of the strong North Dakota economy, the State must pay 50 percent of healthcare costs for existing Medicaid recipients. The ACA Medicaid Expansion, which seeks to serve a greater number of low income people, will allow several thousand adults and children to be added to the Medicaid rolls with nearly all funding coming from the federal government. Some legislators are still upset about the new federal law and are not looking at the benefits of this part of the plan. Adoption of the Medicaid Expansion will give lower income people the healthcare benefits that most North Dakotans already receive from their private insurance or Medicare. Because the recent Supreme Court ruling allows states to opt out of the plan we have a choice of staying in or out. The consequence, however, is that we will still provide medical care, but more often than not, it will be provided in an emergency room after an illness gets to a more serious point. A goal of the ACA is to shift healthcare to prevention, costing much less in the long run. On Wednesday, January 30, a joint hearing in the House will allow us to hear both sides of this issue before moving it forward.
This weekend we had our first Legislative Coffee at the Thompson Community Center. We had a great visit with several area friends and new friends on a variety of topics. Thanks must go to Mayor Karyn Hippen for setting this up. Our next Forum will be at the Hillsboro Country Hearth, Saturday, February 9th at 9:00 a.m. See our full schedule and other reports at our Web Page: http://d20team or on Facebook: District20Team .
In House floor sessions we will continue to vote on a wide range of bills with most making requested adjustments to existing law. Most of my time on Human Services Appropriations consists of going over proposed 2013-2015 Department budgets and discussing changes. Monday and Tuesday of this week, however, was devoted to public input. We listened to both providers and recipients of state services as they recommended either accepting the proposed budget or suggesting changes. Possible amendments and votes are still a few days away.
Visitors this week came from the ND Bankers Association, the ND Soybean Growers, Clifford the Red Dog, Cat in the Hat (Prairie Public Broadcasting), Agassiz Drain Tile, North Dakota Newspaper Association, ND Telecommunications Association, NDEA, NDPEA and the ND Rural Water Association. We appreciate having the opportunity to visit with our constituents from District 20. If you are planning a visit to the Legislature, let us know in advance so we can set up a time to visit. Our schedule is usually full, so planning ahead is important.
Until Next time; Stay warm and safe.
Rep. Rick Holman. 701.238.1124 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org