House Floor Action

Today we will be taking up the Health Exchange bill on the floor. HF5 Atkins

I will be offering an amendment to make the case that Minnesota should lead and not follow health reform.  Most of all we should not

be forced to hold up both state and federal ends of a bad deal.  Check out our amendments to HF 5 Here:


1. What is a Health Care Exchange (HIX)?


The Health Care Exchange is a way for people and groups to purchase health insurance in a mechanism whose rules are set and upheld by government. 


2. Why are we doing this now?


The ACA, PPACA, (AKA Obamacare) says that all states need to set one up this year or the federal government will do it for us.  Some states are moving forward to do their own exchange (like us) while others are essentially calling the bluff of the federal government, calculating that the federal government has neither the authority, nor the ability to set up and manage state based private health insurance. 


Here is an excellent (nonpartisan) site that just looks at where states are in this gobbledygook.

If you have other good links please email or dm me.


We have until Oct to start loading people onto the site. We are to be up and running by Jan 1, 2014.


3. If I am not in this exchange, will it impact me?


Yes. MCHA, MN Care enrollees will be in large part or on whole, moved to Medicaid or the exchange.  Large employers may “dump” (stop providing insurance and pay a fine) or move from the self-insured market to the exchange.  Small groups may do the same.


All industry and government  models predicting the impact of the ACA now anticipate changes in availability and benefits of existing policies. 


4. Will this lower cost?


No. Minnesota has one of the lowest cost structures of any state in the country.  We also have the highest quality of care, and among the lowest levels of uninsured.  Some studies show Obamacare will increase federal debt by $6T.


If the goal is to insure more people, we would be better off to just buy health insurance policies for uninsured people to raise our insured rate from 91 to 98%).


5. Where’s Matt @?


I am opposed to this bill. 


We have great healthcare in this state.  In fact, we are the envy of every other state in the country.  Rather than being the first one in line for this federal experiment, we should be offering the rest of the country a viable alternative to ObamaCare. 


We do have great care.  But the way we pay for it makes it unaffordable to many and unavailable to some.  That’s not fair and it is getting worse.  Some say that we need some sort of “Preiceline-type” polling environment to level access and price in this marketplace.    


The problem is not that government is not doing enough in healthcare.  The problem is that government is trying to do too much.  With every layer of regulation and new bureau, doctors and patients are separated ever more.  Costs are driven up, and quality down with each layer.    


In my nine years at the Capitol, I can not think of a bill that did so much, that impacted so much of our economy and the healthcare of every Minnesotan.  It is less than 15 pages long.  Although it has gone through countless hearings, there is almost no understanding among members of how this bill works.