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Letters: Respect rent-control vote, copay reform and an update to flood insurance rules

Our weekly roundup of letters from MinnPost readers.

Grand Avenue apartments
MinnPost photo by Corey Anderson

Respect will of voters on rent control

As a college student, I was excited to vote for my very first ballot measure in Nov 2021 for rent stabilization. But now, Sen. Rich Draheim is working to cancel more than 100,000 votes in the Twin Cities from that election through his bill, SF 3414.

How can a powerful few void verified votes in the United States because they disagree with the outcome of a certified election? I am sickened that my vote doesn’t count. I am insulted that he states we “did not understand” what we were voting for.

In this housing crisis, I voted to allow everyone to have a rent they can budget for. I voted to stop out-of-town investors and corporate landlords from price gouging the rent of my friends’ families. I cannot comprehend how SF 3414 can exist without violating my constitutional right to vote. Should I even vote in the future? Will my vote count? I hope so. This anti-democratic bill must be stopped. Thank you, Peter Callaghan/MinnPost, for covering this travesty.

—Melissa Elmer, St. Paul

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Why copay reform matters

MinnPost’s recent story on reinsurance highlighted Representative Zach Stevenson’s efforts to include some important policy measures in the House reinsurance bill. I’d like to thank him for championing copay reform in his bill and explain why it matters to me.

I’m a high school senior who has been living with severe alopecia since 2017. My specialty medicines are covered right now through my parents’ health coverage, but I’m worried about the high out of pocket costs I could be facing at the start of each year when the time comes to buy my own coverage as an adult. As I’m going up to start college this fall, I am already concerned with paying for this, and cannot even fathom having to cover my necessary medication as well.

Copay reform would give Minnesota consumers some coverage options that spread out their prescription drug costs across the calendar year. That would make these costs more manageable for patients like me without driving up health care costs for other Minnesotans. A business lobbyist called this proposal and other items like it “extraneous,” but nothing’s extraneous when you’re worried about being able to afford your own health care.

I hope that the Minnesota Senate will accept the copay reform proposal for the good of people like me who are living with chronic conditions. Better coverage options can’t arrive soon enough.

—Marisa Bacon, Champlin

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Important updates to flood insurance

I’m an insurance agent based in St. Paul and serving the Twin Cities metro and surrounding areas. I am focused on making sure families and individuals are safe through difficult times and circumstances.

Flooding is one of those times, and it’s become the costliest and most frequent natural disaster facing Minnesotans. Unfortunately, unlike most insurance, flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has not evolved as flooding has worsened in recent years.

To address this, FEMA has rolled out a new rating methodology, known as Risk Rating 2.0. — a more accurate, transparent, and fair way to determine a property’s unique flood risk and prepare policyholders for future flooding. It is an important step to modernize this critical program.

Under Risk Rating 2.0, which began on October 1 for new policyholders and starts April 1 for existing policyholders, nearly 1.2 million NFIP policyholders nationwide are eligible for an immediate decrease in flood insurance premiums.

According to FEMA, over 2,100 single-family homeowners in Minnesota will benefit from decreased premiums under the new rate structure. More than 93% of policyholders across the state will see either a decrease in payments or an increase of less than $10 a month. Absent these changes, under the old system, every NFIP policyholder would see a rate increase this year and many annual increases would continue indefinitely.

This is a smart move that will increase the NFIP’s financial stability, save policyholders money, and keep people safer the next time floodwaters rise.

—Ian Davy, St. Paul

MinnPost welcomes original letters from readers on current topics of general interest. Interested in joining the conversation? Submit your letter to the editor. The choice of letters for publication is at the discretion of MinnPost editors; they will not be able to respond to individual inquiries about letters.