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Daudt: Health care cost worries helped drive GOP's Minn. gains

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Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt
Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt speaks at a press conference in this Oct. 26, 2016 file photo.
Tim Pugmire | MPR News File

Skyrocketing health care costs for individual buyers and problems with the MNsure insurance marketplace were huge concerns for Minnesota voters who delivered big wins for the GOP, Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt said.    

  "We are required by the federal government to have an exchange or be in an exchange,"  Daudt said. "If the federal government can clip some of those strings, we can go back to some of the best health care in the country."  

  Problems with the individual health insurance market became an important issue in the battle for control of the Minnesota Legislature. Weeks earlier, the state acknowledged that people who buy individual market health insurance outside of an employer were headed for big premium hikes at the start of the new year.  

  Republicans used that to attack Democrats for their support of the federal Affordable Care Act and MNsure, the state-run online insurance marketplace spawned by the federal law. 

They were emboldened by Dayton's public statement in mid-October that the law was "no longer affordable,", a biting comment from a governor who'd embraced the law and helped create MNsure.    

Daudt said he looked forward to working with Dayton but added that voters rejected the policies of the governor and President Barack Obama and that Trump tapped into voter frustrations.