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GOP leaders decry Dayton plan for health exchange

Gov. Mark Dayton’s plan to use a $4.2 million federal grant to help plan a state health insurance exchange came under fire today from Republican legislators. They even hinted at a lawsuit to stop the action. Said a statement from GOP state Sen.

Gov. Mark Dayton’s plan to use a $4.2 million federal grant to help plan a state health insurance exchange came under fire today from Republican legislators. They even hinted at a lawsuit to stop the action.

Said a statement from GOP state Sen. David Hann, chairman of the Senate Health and Human Service Committee:

“With the awarding of this grant, the Governor appears to continue to move forward on establishing a Minnesota health insurance exchange without consulting with the Minnesota State Legislature and stakeholders from the public. Our Senate HHS Committee held a hearing asking the Commissioners of HHS and Commerce to tell us what they are doing on the establishment of an exchange without legislative input and they basically would not tell us anything.”

Rep. Steve Gottwalt, chairman of the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee, said:

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“The Dayton administration has chosen to go-it-alone, taking federal funds to build an Obamacare exchange with virtually no input from the Legislature or Minnesotans who will be affected by it. This is wrong and we call on Governor Dayton to stop building an Obamacare exchange behind closed doors. We insist that Governor Dayton and Commissioner Mike Rothman collaborate with the Legislature, patients, providers and others in determining the path of health care reform for Minnesota.”

 Sen. Chris Gerlach, chairman of the  Senate Commerce Committee, said:

“This is an incredibly sensitive issue that is tied to the federal health care law that is even under question as to whether it is constitutional or not. We are going to have to take a serious look at how the Department of Commerce is planning to administer this grant and we’ll hold hearings on this early next session to see if we have to take legislative action.”

Dayton, though, thinks the state health insurance exchange is a good thing. The new funding, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will be used by the state Commerce Department to “assist with exchange development, technical infrastructure, and stakeholder work groups to help design an insurance exchange marketplace.”

Said Dayton:

“This funding will help us to provide better health care at lower costs for all Minnesotans. We have already made good progress in designing a health exchange that will put Minnesota in the forefront of health care reform.”