Rep. Erin Murphy. Representing St. Paul District 64A

Latest Writings

Ways to Follow my Legislative Work Online

For the time being I will be using web-based methods other than my legislative blog to keep you informed with my work at the State Capitol to represent District 64A and our state. Here are some of the other ways you can continue to receive updates from me on the web.

Follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/epmurphy

Sign up for my regular legislative electronic updates at my House of Representatives website: www.house.mn/64a

And as always, feel free to contact me anytime with your questions, comments or ideas.

Erin

State Rep. Erin Murphy
345 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
651-296-8799
E-mail: rep.erin.murphy@house.mn

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GOP Agenda Lacks Focus on Jobs

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House Republicans are moving forward with “Phase 1” of their plan to balance the budget. Unfortunately, they are moving forward without much public input and without much consideration of how their cuts will affect Minnesotans.

An example of the lack of input or thoughtful decision making came in our Health Care Committee last week. We had less than 24 hours to study this proposal that cut $71 million, affecting seniors and children. Even the new Republican Speaker of the House in Congress, John Boehner pledged support for a 72 hour period for legislators and members of the public to read and review legislation.

This video attached are my comments about the cuts in this bill to child protection services will shift an unfair burden onto our counties that will end up asking property tax payers to foot the bill.

In addition to this irresponsible budget plan, we are beginning to get a more complete look at the GOP agenda. Just in the past few weeks we have seen press conferences and bill introductions from the Republicans on voter ID, constitutional amendments related to guns, English as our official state language, repealing the Next Generation Energy Act, job cuts and wage freezes, and more.

What strikes me most is the absence of legislation that will create jobs and support working families. On the first day of session Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers said job creation would be the top priority. To date their rhetoric has simply not rung true.

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State Legislators Speak Out on Affordable Care Act Repeal

As Congress considers legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, it’s critical we consider what is at stake. Today the White House released a snapshot of what legislators are saying about “repeal” efforts from across the country. Here are my comments as well as those of others:

Minnesota Representative Erin Murphy:

“Repealing the Affordable Care Act means repealing affordable coverage for Minnesotans with preexisting conditions like asthma or diabetes. It means repealing consumer protections that protects an insured family from unfair premium increases. It means bringing back the prescription drug donut hole that prices seniors citizens out of the prescription drugs they need to stay healthy… Repealing the Affordable Care Act represents a fatal step backwards and the consequence is a less stable, more costly health care system for Minnesotans.”

Minnesota Representative Tom Huntley:

“Every day, Minnesotans are coming to appreciate the Affordable Care Act more and more. Adult children are being offered coverage on their parents’ policy, seniors are getting help with the costly donut hole, and small businesses are adding jobs because the tax credit is helping them provide health coverage.”

Iowa State Senator Jack Hatch:

“Before they vote, they need to think about the Iowa mother who can now get coverage for her 3-year old son who has severe asthma, a pre-existing condition; the Iowa cancer survivor who now no longer has to worry his insurance company will cut off his coverage due to an arbitrary lifetime limit; and, the tens of thousands of young Iowa men and women who now can get coverage on their parents’ health care plan.”

Texas Representative Garnet F. Coleman:

“It's telling that just weeks after taking office, Republicans in Congress have made it a priority to change current law to take away Americans' healthcare rights and allow insurance companies to drop someone from coverage if they develop a catastrophic illness like cancer. The Republican repeal would add billions to our national deficit and would have very real and drastic consequences on Texas families.”

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Early MA is good deal for all Minnesotans

Last week I joined Governor Dayton in his reception room for the signing of his executive order to enroll Minnesota in early Medical Assistance (MA). It was the next step in what has been a long and ongoing journey to provide health care in a cost-effective manner for all Minnesotans.

Many people attended the signing and Governor Dayton allowed both supporters and opponents of early MA to voice their opinions. It was a refreshing display of democracy in action, which is why many news outlets spent a good deal of time discussing his remarkable decision to open his office to the people.

Along with appreciating Governor Dayton’s openness, I would like to highlight some the positive outcome for Minnesotans that his decision to enroll Minnesota in early MA. I’d also like to highlight some of the Republican myths you may have heard about early MA:

Health care for 95,000 Minnesotans
Covers 95,000 uninsured or underinsured Minnesotans who earn less than $8,000 per year with basic health care by capturing federal resources at no additional cost to the state.

Creates as many as 20,000 Minnesota Jobs
Provides more than $1 billion in additional payments to Minnesota’s health care workforce, hospitals and care providers who have been hit hard by past cuts.

Reduces the hidden tax on working families
Minnesota families pay a $1,500 hidden tax to cover the uninsured. Reducing unpaid care for 95,000 Minnesotans will significantly reduce that hidden tax for working families.

Eases strain on state budget deficit
Captures federal resources and provides care more cost effectively to SAVE the state $32 million next biennium and $233 million over five years.

Broad support from health care, businesses, and faith community
MA enrollment is supported by hospitals, nurses, seniors, business leaders, and faith organizations and more.

Dispelling Republican Myths

Don’t be fooled by “Tea Party” rhetoric
MA is not a radical form of “Obamacare.” It was created in 1965 as a federal/state partnership to provide basic health care to seniors, low-income, and the disabled.

MA enables us to move forward with cost saving reforms
MA does not “end” reform. To the contrary, MA retains innovative reforms passed in 2008 like health care homes, providing additional opportunities to reduce health care costs.

Authority to enroll Minnesota in MA passed bipartisanly
Dozens of legislative Republicans including the new Speaker of the House, Kurt Zellers, voted for the bill signed into law by Governor Pawlenty that authorized early MA enrollment.

The Work Ahead

Medical Assistance has long provided health coverage for low income seniors, disabled Minnesotans and low income families with children. The majority of the Medicaid budget is spent for the care of seniors and the disabled.

To tackle the cost trajectory in the years ahead, we must continue to pursue delivery and payment reforms across the system.

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And So it Begins...

Mighty Citizens,

The 2011 legislative session began on Tuesday with my colleagues and me taking the oath of office. Raising my right hand and getting sworn in to return as your state representative was both humbling and inspiring. I am eager to get to work on the important challenges facing our community and state.

I am firmly committed to solutions that will create jobs, grow our economy for the future, and reaching a fairly balanced budget. That means protecting middle class families from steep property tax increases, college tuition hikes and damaging cuts to our schools. In the days leading up to the session new Republican leaders signaled they will put forward a budget that protects education, Minnesotans with disabilities, seniors, and public safety. I look forward to seeing the specifics of this plan and putting it through close examination so that Minnesotans know the true impact for their families and future.

I would love to see you this session, so please visit at my new office at 345 State Office Building. For those following the House committees you can also visit the three committees I will be serving on this session: Health and Human Services Finance, Health and Human Services Reform, and Rules and Legislative Administration.

Changes will mark the beginning of the legislative session. We have our first DFL Governor in about twenty years in Mark Dayton and have new Republican majorities in the Minnesota House and Senate. However, it will be how we respond to these changes that will mark the conclusion of the legislative session and ultimately the direction of our state.

It’s time to get to work.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

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Hopeful News on Job Creation

Minnesota received hopeful economic news today about our continued recovery. In May we created 5,600 jobs according to the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). This is the first time since 2008 we’ve seen two consecutive months of job growth.

Since the low point of the recession in September of 2009, we have created over 34,200 jobs. The road to recovery will be long, and not without setbacks, but it’s clear Minnesota is finally moving in the right direction.

Minnesotans are also making their way back to a full work week, an important economic indicator for a healthy economy. The average week increased to 33.1 hours. That is a boost from the 32.7 hours in January 2010.

Legislation we passed this session will help accelerate our recovery. Our bonding will put thousands of construction jobs across many different sectors. New workers will help improve our infrastructure and encourage entrepreneurship throughout Minnesota.

It will take time for our economy back to recover fully, but we’re on our way. We need to continue being proactive at the state level and pursue innovative reforms to create jobs and build our new economy for a successful future.

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Learn how small businesses can take advantage of federal health care reform

The crushing cost of health insurance for small businesses was one of the driving forces for federal health care reform. Now that it’s law, it’s important for small business owners to know how they will be affected by reforms to address cost, unpredictable premiums, and lack of access to affordable choices.

The Small Business Majority (a non-partisan national non-profit organization created by small business owners) has released helpful information for small business owners to understand how federal health care reform will impact them.

They have also created a Small Business Calculator where small business owners can calculate the tax credit they will receive by offering health insurance to their employers

Here are a few of the significant ways federal health care reform will support small businesses:

Lower costs

Small business tax credits - Creates a $40 billion tax credit from 2010 to 2019, providing approximately 4 million small businesses with a tax credit to offset employer health plan costs.

Cost containment - Creates a small business health pool to spread risk and eliminates cost shifts that add to hidden tax passed on to everyone’s care when the uninsured seek expensive treatment in emergency rooms.

More choices

Simplified options - Provides small businesses, including the self-employed, a new option for a simplified cafeteria plan to provide tax-free benefits to employees.

Temporary High-Risk Pool - Creates a temporary high-risk pool in 2010, funded with $5 billion, to allow individuals who have been uninsured for six months and have a preexisting condition to buy affordable comprehensive coverage.

Insurance reforms

Preexisting conditions - Prohibits medical screening for health conditions and makes it unlawful to deny coverage for preexisting conditions for serious health conditions.

Oversight on premium increases - Establishes new processes for federal and state review of premium increases. Among other things, states may recommend that insurers not be allowed to participate in the exchanges due to unreasonable premium increases.

For more information visit www.smallbusinessmajority.org

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