The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services postponed two key Friday deadlines till mid-December, but Minnesota pushed ahead anyway, emphasizing Gov. Mark Dayton’s commitment to implementing the exchange. Federal funding for the project will top $100 million if the grant is approved.
With DFL majorities in the Legislature, what once looked like a lonely project for the executive branch has become one of the most important issues for lawmakers this session.
House Speaker-designate Paul Thissen said in an interview on Friday that moving forward with an exchange is a key piece of the DFL’s 2013 legislative agenda. The exchange, expected to serve roughly 1.2 million Minnesotans, functions as a marketplace for individuals and small businesses to purchase and compares insurance options, similar to travel websites like Orbitz.
“I am delighted to submit Minnesota's Exchange Blueprint application and confirm Minnesota's intent to develop and operate a State-based Health Insurance Exchange,” Dayton wrote in a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday. “I strongly share your commitment, and that of President Obama, to ensuring access to affordable, high quality health care coverage for all Minnesotans.”
It appears obstructions to the move are less, post-election. However, eyes on the prize still, single payer is the only rational long-term answer. That and cost control, making our healthcare provision system as tight and effective as it can be.