CCHC Asks Governor Pawlenty to Withdraw the Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange Legislation

Minneapolis/St. Paul — At a press conference held today, Citizens’ Council on Health Care (CCHC) asked Governor Tim Pawlenty to withdraw the Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange proposal moving forward in the Health and Human Services bill, SF 2171 (House version).

“If the Exchange becomes law, Minnesotans will no longer be allowed to purchase health insurance privately. In the future, the Exchange could be empowered to determine insurance benefits, limit choice of insurers, set prices, and monitor every aspect of the insurance industry, included the insured,” warned Twila Brase, president of CCHC.

Joining Ms. Brase were concerned citizens, insurance agents, and representatives from the business community.

Mr. Mel Brandl, a concerned citizen expressed his opposition, “I do not want the government telling me how to purchase my health insurance. It’s none of their business!”

Mr. Tom Aslesen, an insurance broker, said, “At some point the Exchange could assume complete power over health insurance options and operations. There could be only a few people making health insurance decisions for everyone in the State of Minnesota.”

Ms. Brase detailed five additional concerns:

  1. Violation of Citizen Rights – citizens will no longer be allowed to purchase health insurance privately. Health insurance will be accessible only through an employer or the Exchange.

  2. Violation of Individual Privacy – the Exchange will know the name, health plan, premium payment, insured status, and perhaps, medical conditions of individuals buying health insurance.

  1. Higher Health Care Costs – the Exchange, acting as a fourth-party payer, is empowered to charge for the cost of administration by assessing fees on health plan premiums.

  1. Loss of Personal Service – bureaucracies are not known for their customer service.

  1. Lack of State Liability – The State of Minnesota will use taxpayer dollars to start the Exchange, help to run the Exchange, and leave the public with no choice but to send their money to the Exchange for the purchase of health insurance, yet assume no liability for actions taken by the Exchange.

“We are asking the Governor to withdraw the Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange proposal,” said Ms. Brase.

“The Exchange is a large ‘single-seller’ bureaucracy that threatens to assume powers over the all aspects of health insurance. It will increase health care costs, violate individual rights, and leave the public without the personalized services and options we have today,” she stated.

Media Contact:

Twila Brase, President and Co-founder
Office: 651-646-8935