Some Republican legislators are claiming that Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton is exceeding his authority by setting up a state health insurance exchange without their input.
Minnesota received a $4.2 million federal grant last week to help establish the exchange, which is a key piece of the federal health care law. GOP lawmakers fundamentally oppose the law. Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, the chair of the Senate health and human services committee, said today that the administration is wrong to move forward on its own.
“We believe that they do not have the authority, and we are going to pursue every means available to us as a Legislature to prevent that from occuring,” Hann said. “They should not be taking Minnesota down the path to enacting this law in the way that they’re doing it without the counsel of the Legislature, without the input of the stakeholders in the health care community.”
Health insurance exchanges will allow consumers shop for coverage and compare available plans beginning in 2014. State Commerce Commissioner Michael Rothman said last week the grant will be used in part to set up an advisory task force and choose a chief financial officer.
Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman issued the following statement in response to the GOP news conference:
The Administration is focused on using this grant to thoughtfully and effectively prepare the infrastructure necessary for a Minnesota-made exchange built by Minnesotans, for Minnesotans. We are focused on ensuring that exchange meets the unique needs of Minnesota’s consumers, businesses, and economy while driving market competition and reducing health care costs for Minnesotans.
In preparing for an exchange, we will actively seek constructive public input from all parties. We need all hands on deck – consumers, employers, legislators, insurers, agents, navigators, and health care providers – to help design an exchange that supports Minnesota’s unique health care system and demonstrates again why Minnesota leads the nation in health care innovation.
It is urgent for Minnesota to act to design and develop an exchange. Our window of opportunity to craft and implement a Minnesota-made solution is right now. States have only until January 1, 2013 to create the infrastructure for their own exchanges, which would be available to consumers in 2014.
A request for use of exchange establishment grant funds was included and authorized as part of Governor Dayton’s biennial budget request to the 2011 Minnesota Legislature for the Department of Commerce.
The Administration informed lawmakers of the grant Minnesota received last week. We are committed to a constructive, collaborative process with all stakeholders to design and develop an exchange that best serves Minnesotans. We are always open to discussions with the legislature and stakeholders.