Politics & Government

Godfread: Good idea to shop for health insurance

Oct 30, 2017

Open enrollment for health insurance begins Wednesday.

It’s a short window – open enrollment closes December 15th.

North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread is urging those who will purchase insurance on the individual market to shop for the best plan.

"If you do not receive a subsidy, but you're in the individual market, you need to go out and shop, Godfread said. "It would be a pretty good idea, in my opinion, to go out and meet with an insurance agent and really walk through your options."

Sanford Health Plan will be offering health insurance coverage in five North Dakota counties on the Affordable Care Act Exchange

Sanford’s TRUE plan will be available in Traill, Cass, Oliver, Burleigh and Morton counties.

North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread said this follows his announcement last week that he would not re-open a rate discussion after President Trump signed an order ending cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance carriers, to reduce rates for lower-income subscribers.

ND tourism 'holds its own' in 2017

Oct 23, 2017
Tourism division

The numbers aren’t in yet, but state tourism officials say 2017 held its own.

"Some parts of the state were up more than others," said state Tourism Division director Sara Otte Coleman. "The Medora, Badlands, Theodore Roosevelt National Park held very strong, after a record-breaking 2016. But other parts of the state were a little spottier."

Otte Coleman said some of the attractions maintained, some were up or down by 5-7 percent. She said there were some things working against the tourism economy in 2017.

Office of Management and Budget

September's revenue collections are in.

And they're ahead of forecast.

State Office of Management and Budget director Pam Sharp said they came in $16.5 million ahead of forecast. And since July, the beginning of FY 2018, state revenues are $26.5 million ahead.

"We do believe we have turned the corner," Sharp said.

Sharp said things have picked up since the spring.

"We've had some really good, solid months of sales tax collections," Sharp said. "I think a lot of that has been generated from the western part of the state. It's encouraging."

The state Department of HumanServices hosted an Opioid Prevention training seminar at the state Capitol in Bismarck.

The Department's director of behavioral health, Pam Sagness, said prevention can take a number of forms.

"That can be administering medication like naloxone to save a life, but also looking at community prevention," Sagness said. "those community efforts may prevent the abuse of opioids in the first place."

Cramer holds tax reform roundtable

Oct 18, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer has been holding a series of roundtable meetings across the state – gathering feedback about the potential for tax reform and relief.

One such roundtable was held Tuesday (10-17-17) in Bismarck.

Cramer said while the House is ready to pass a tax reform bill, there’s still some uncertainty in the Senate.

UND to sell former Road King Inn

Oct 18, 2017

UND will be selling a hotel that it purchased and converted to overflow student housing.

It’s called “Dakota Hall.” But at one time it was the Road King Inn.

"It was acquired at the peak of residence hall occupnacies," University System director of Facilities Planning Rick Tonder told the Board of Higher Education's Budget and Finance Committee. "Now they no longer need the facility."

Tonder said UND wants to market it and sell it.

Before it is sold, it will have to be appraised.

Annual Governor's photo contest winners announced

Oct 17, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A contest that has been going for 14 years.

The winners of the annual North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest were honored at a state Capitol ceremony.

"With North Dakota's amazing topography, stunning landscapes and great wildlife, and beautiful people, this is a great opportunity to capture all of the best that North Dakota has," said Gov. Doug Burgum.

North Dakota’s Insurance Commissioner said President Trump’s decision to end health insurer subsides under the Affordable Care Act could mean health insurance premiums going up.

The payments are called “Cost Sharing Reductions.” They go to insurance companies to help reduce the premiums paid by lower income people buying health insurance on the ACA marketplace.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said there’s no reason to stop the construction of flood control structures around Oxbow.

A federal judge in Minnesota has ordered a halt to some parts of the FM flood control and diversion project, because the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources hasn’t issued permits for the project. Some upstream opponents have said all construction should stop until some agreement is worked out, and the Minnesota DNR issues the permits.