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Supporters celebrate as Gov. Dayton signs ‘MNsure’ health exchange into law

Policymakers now face two key April deadlines for establishing the exchange’s governing board and creating some operating rules.

Gov. Mark Dayton signed the Minnesota health insurance exchange into law on Wednesday.
MinnPost photo by James Nord

DFL lawmakers and health insurance exchange supporters celebrated “MNsure” — the exchange’s official brand — as Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday signed the measure into law.

mnsure logoLawmakers have now handed off the brunt of the exchange planning and implementation to executive branch staff, who have been working behind the scenes to make sure the project meets federal deadlines and is ready launch in January.

Policymakers now face two key April deadlines for establishing the exchange’s governing board and creating operating rules for those who help consumers and small businesses access the exchange.

Much of the hard work is still to come.

The exchange staff, for example, must finalize the massive new program’s complicated IT infrastructure on a very tight timeline

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Even so, the governor and exchange supporters paused Wednesday to celebrate the milestone accomplishment.

“This truly is a landmark day in Minnesota,” House sponsor Joe Atkins told a joyful crowd. “This is the most significant reform of health insurance we’ve seen in Minnesota in 50 years.”

For all of the enthusiasm, however, the plan does have its critics, including Republican legislators — and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, which is unhappy with several of its provisions.

Now, Dayton must appoint the exchange’s governing board. Rules must be established, and health carriers must submit plans they want to offer for executive branch review by mid-May.

There’s also a public relations blitz planned for spring and summer, put together by two leading Minnesota firms.

Haberman, an advertising firm,  came up with the “MNsure” branding for the exchange, which was unveiled at Wednesday’s signing ceremony. Meanwhile, Himle Rapp, a public affairs company, is finishing up work on public relations and a social-media strategy.  

The exchange’s tagline: “Where you choose health coverage.”