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Published August 03 2010

Republican lawmaker says federal health care reform could cost ND $1.1 billion in next 10 years

BISMARCK—Federal health care reform will increase costs for North Dakota families by about $1.1 billion in the next 10 years, a Republican lawmaker said Tuesday.

After much study, the Industry, Business and Labor Committee determined a family of four will pay an extra $6,900 on average through 2019 because of the new law, Rep. George Keiser, R-Bismarck, said.

“North Dakotans deserve answers from the federal government on how our citizens and state can mitigate the substantial costs associated with the new health care law,” Keiser said in a statement. “Where are the cost savings for our citizens?”

However, Sen. Tracy Potter, D-Bismarck, who serves on the same committee, said North Dakota “benefits extremely well” from federal health care reform.

The Frontier State Amendment is a $650 million savings for North Dakota hospitals and doctors over 10 years by increasing Medicare reimbursement for them, he said.

“We will also benefit from the subsidies that go to low- and middle-income families and businesses because we are a low-wage state,” said Potter, who is challenging Gov. John Hoeven for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

For more on this story, read tomorrow's newspaper.