In our area—and throughout much of Greater Minnesota—we’re seeing a reduction in health care services and options, and my legislation is one tool for local governments to make it easier for medical facilities to locate to rural parts of the state. This is especially important in cities like Albert Lea and Blooming Prairie, where we have lost critical health services.
 
Bennett cited past legislation she helped pass relating to increasing nursing home funding, transportation and tax relief as work she wants to continue. Bennett said she is looking forward to possibly helping pass legislation to lower health care costs and increase access to health care services. She said she supports Albert Lea taking back a full-service, acute-care hospital, shortly after Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea began transitioning most inpatient services to Austin.
 
By the time the 2018 session rolled around, Rep. Peggy Bennett, R-Albert Lea, signed on to carry the bill in the House and it was scheduled for its first hearings. “I just thought: It’s just common sense, this should already be happening,” said Bennett. “I just give kudos to those young people for doing something like this, because it’s going to have a positive impact for kids for generations.” Bennett invited several of the young women who helped draft the bill to the House floor for the vote. They broke into tears when the voting board lit up green: It passed unanimously. “It was a really emotional moment,” Bennett said. “They were just so overwhelmed to see it pass.”
 
Bennett said helping health care providers locate to rural Minnesota would improve access to residents and increase competition, resulting in the lowering of health insurance costs…  “In our area — and throughout much of Greater Minnesota — we’re seeing a reduction in health care services and options, and my legislation is one tool for local governments to make it easier for medical facilities to locate to rural parts of the state. 
 
The meeting came after Bennett reached out to Mayo officials last week to request the meeting to continue dialogue between stakeholders in the decision, according to a press release from Bennett’s office. “My goal for this meeting was to foster productive, face-to-face conversation in a small group setting so stakeholders on all sides could share their perspective and work to better understand where they were coming from,” Bennett said. “There’s understandably a great deal of anxiety and fear about Mayo’s plans to shift services out of Albert Lea — I share those concerns, and I too am frustrated by how the decision was communicated to the public.”