Exchange Bill Begins the Committee Hearing Process
[MMA News Now, Jan. 17, 2013] Senate bill (SF1), which would create a Minnesota-based health insurance exchange, began the long review process through the Capitol on Jan. 16. Its first stop - the Senate State and Local Government Committee.
In committee, Sen. Tony Lourey (DFL), SF1’s chief author, amended his bill so that the board overseeing the exchange would be considered a state agency and its members would be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate.
He explained that the exchange board’s seven members would be made up of: three people representing the public; the Human Services commissioner or her designate; and three members with “expertise” in health care.
One of these expert members would represent the areas of health administration, health care finance, health plan purchasing and health care delivery systems; one member would represent the areas of public health, health disparities, public health care programs and the uninsured; and one would represent health policy issues related to the small group and individual markets.
One of the more controversial provisions related to the board is the conflict of interest protections for board members. “The MMA believes that Minnesota must pass authorizing legislation to establish our state-based exchange quickly,” said Dave Renner, MMA’s director of state and federal legislation. “We are concerned, however, that the ‘conflict of interest’ requirements will exclude people with practical expertise from participating. As written, the bill would bar health care providers, including physicians, from serving on the governance board. We believe that the physician’s perspective is an important one, and will work with legislators to make sure it remains heard.”
In presenting the amendment, Sen. Lourey stressed that the Board would have advisory committees made up if other experts "to gather information" on the operations of the exchange. This is a provision that many believe will be modified as the bill moves forward.
The next stop for SF 1 is the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will discuss the data privacy aspects of the bill. It will need to pass the Commerce Committee, the Health, Housing and Human Services Committee, the Tax Committee, the Health and Human Service Finance Division, and the Finance Committee all before it gets to the Senate Floor. The bill will have to be signed by Gov. Dayton before the end of March.