One of the most important duties of the state legislature is oversight of the agencies which make up our government. This oversight includes making sure taxpayer money is spent responsibly, and departments are held accountable. As a whole the Minnesota health exchange or MNsure has made significant progress with thousands of Minnesotans who were once without health insurance now covered. That is not to say that the MNsure rollout went smoothly. Technical glitches made the important process of accessing coverage frustrating for many and the public-private governance of MNsure did not provide enough transparency for the public, legislature or industry.
To address these issues, State Senator Tony Lourey (DFL-Kerrick), Chair of the Health and Human Services Budget Division, has introduced legislation that will provide greater oversight of the health exchange. The bill would transform MNsure into a state agency, with a commissioner appointed by the governor who would be fully accountable to the executive branch, legislators and most importantly the public.
Senator Lourey said this is not a wholesale change of the marketplace, but a refinement of the structure of MNsure. “I want to assure Minnesotans MNsure is open for business, and encourage them to continue to shop for coverage before the deadline of February 15th. MNsure is the only place that Minnesotans can find the financial help they may be eligible for, such as tax credits, low-cost or no-cost coverage”
“To begin with, I would like to say thank you to the MNsure board members, without their help MNsure may never have happened let alone seen the progress we have made over the last two years. Like many, I was disappointed about some of the issues surrounding its rollout two years ago. This bill is not an indictment of the leadership or staff at MNsure, but one of my jobs as a legislator is to hear concerns from citizens and try to address them,” said Lourey.
“One of the most frequent concerns regarding MNsure, and it is a concern I share, is making sure that the exchange is fully accessible and fully accountable to those it serves. This includes making sure that all the actions and decisions are in a cost effective, efficient and transparent way. The department of MNsure will answer to the governor and legislature and their budget will be public record. It is very important to me that all state departments are good stewards of taxpayer money and this bill brings MNsure more in line with that philosophy,” said Lourey.