Reality #5 - Powerful Board of Seven Strangers

The Minnesota Insurance Exchange legislation specifically defines the “Minnesota Insurance Marketplace” as a Board. This board would be a defacto state agency, signing IT contracts, accepting state appropriations, having a dedicated state account, overseeing health care across the state of Minnesota, and choosing what insurance options are available on the exchange.

Under Federal Authority. The Board would be required to follow the 2,700 page federal health reform law and its more than 13,000 pages of regualtions. In short, the Board would be in charge implementing Obamacare in Minnesota.

Seven Members. The board is composed of seven members, appointed by Governor Mark Dayton (D). These members are confirmed by the Senate, which is currently controlled by the Democrats. The seven board members are supposed to represent consumers and industry. Consumer representatives include one representative for privately insured individuals, one for publicly insured individuals and one for small employers. Industry representatives must have “demonstrated expertise, leadership, and innovation” in various health care and insurances industries, including health plans. The seventh member of the board is the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, currently Lucinda Jesson. 

Law Unto Themselves. The legislation exempts the board from a protective state law that requires any state agency seek and act on public input. The Administrative Procedures Act, Minn. Statutes 14, is specifically in law to protect the public from the overreach of state government.

Because the Exchange Board would be exempt from Chapter 14, they would not have to publish proposed rules for public comment. They would not have to hold an administrative hearing before a judge if 25 people sent in a letter objecting to the rules. They would not have to act on the concerns of any or many Minnesotans. They would simply write rules, impose them across the state, and more than 5 million individuals in the state would be powerless to stop them. The Board of Seven Strangers would be a law unto themselves.

Four Controlling Votes. The legislation says only four votes are needed for any Board decisions. Thus, the consumer voices could be regularly dismissed. The interests of the three industry representatives in combination with the one Dayton Administration commissioner would be able to control all decisions impacting your health insurance options and your doctor’s medical treatment decisions.


Coming Thursday: Reality #6