Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

Fast start to 2013 Session


The 2013 legislative session has officially begun. As the Health and Human Services Finance chair, my primary focus is on Minnesota’s Health Care Exchange legislation. With an aggressive time line that requires us to finish by the end of March, we needed to get off to good a start this session.

In an attempt to highlight the bill’s importance and the need for quick action, Senate leadership made the health care exchange legislation the first bill of session. The Affordable Care Act directed states to create a health care exchange. Each state can create an exchange on their own or have the federal government create the exchange. Most stakeholders agree that while it will be difficult to accomplish, a state-based exchange will better serve Minnesota.

The state-based exchange will create an online marketplace where an applicant will be able to find health care coverage for their income and coverage needs by making an apples-to-apples comparison of different plans. The exchange will serve over 20 percent of all Minnesotans and create a market-based platform that will allow insurance companies to compete for your business. We will be working with consumers, businesses and our health care community to create an exchange that works for Minnesotans, our families and our businesses.

Minnesota is in position to be an example of what health care reform can mean for the people we serve. We want to change the way health care works to meet what is known as the “Triple-Aim” goal — improving the individual’s health care experiences and outcomes, improving population health, and lowering health care costs.

As we focus on the state’s future, the exchange will also be a benefit for our state’s budget. Our state will pay less in the long run for the operation, and our consumers will receive coverage delivered at a lower cost.

Over the next several years, other states will be watching as we show how true health care reform can provide access to quality, affordable health care. The decisions we make this session will have a lasting impact on the state and the nation. It is a big challenge, but I am grateful for the opportunity and am excited to reach the end product to see what the exchange can offer Minnesota.


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