Dayton: MN is moving forward with health insurance exchange

Gov. Dayton sent letters to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and GOP legislative leaders saying his administration is moving forward with creating a state-based health insurance exchange.

“We will seize the historic opportunities to improve the quality and affordability of health care afforded us by new law, known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, whose constitutionality has now been affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court,” Dayton wrote to Sebelius.

The Dayton Administration has been working to create the exchange over the past ten months. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last month upholding the federal health care law gave supporters more incentive to move forward. The DFL governor’s administration has been working to implement the exchange despite protests from Republicans in the Minnesota legislature, who questioned the law’s constitutionality.

In a letter to GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers and GOP Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, Dayton said it was their responsibility to create the exchange and invited them to work with his administration.

“In the future, the law will continue to be evaluated and possibly revised. However, we share the responsibility now to prepare to implement it, beginning next year, in the best interests of our citizens,” Dayton wrote to Zellers and Senjem.

The state-based health insurance exchange is a key part of the federal health care law. The goal is to create an online marketplace where individuals and businesses can shop for health insurance. The exchanges are supposed to be operating by 2014. If the state doesn’t create an exchange, the federal government will create one for the state’s residents. Several groups that support Republicans, including Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, are lobbying for lawmakers to create a state-based exchange.

It isn’t certain that those lobbying efforts will be successful. GOP House Majority Leader Matt Dean wrote on his blog today that he supports repealing the entire health care law. GOP Sen. David Hann, who chairs the committee that oversees health and human services, told MPR News that he’s reluctant to work on the exchange because the law can be repealed if Republicans run the table in the November election.

But Republican Rep. Jim Abeler, says the state should create the exchange. Abeler chairs the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee.

  • Bill Smith

    Could someone please explain in plain English what a state exchange would do? Until I hear/see something that explains what an exchange would do beyond creating an on-line state run program where individuals and businesses can shop for insurance, then I left to think that individuals and businesses shop for insurance now and that the exchange only adds other than a layer of bureacracy and expense.

  • wendy malecha

    Until health insurance companies in Minnesota are prohibited from denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions like high blood pressure and abnormal CT scans, why bother to establish “state exchanges”? No point.