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Saint Paul, Minnesota - State lawmakers called the $4.2 million federal grant Minnesota will receive to begin developing health insurance exchanges a positive step toward providing affordable health care to small businesses and working Minnesotans. Announced this morning by the United States Department of Health, Minnesota will receive this grant to begin developing health insurance exchanges, which will be fully phased in by 2014.
“This grant will get the ball rolling so we can develop a Minnesota insurance exchange that works for Minnesotans," said Tom Huntley (DFL - Duluth), DFL lead on the Health and Human Services Finance committee. “Bipartisanly, the insurance exchange has support and it’s important we work together to get this right.”
Included as part of the Affordable Care law, insurance exchanges will provide a competitive health insurance market for small businesses and consumers to purchase affordable health care. Exchanges will bring added transparency to the health insurance market so that consumers can compare plans based on price and quality. Increased competition between insurance companies will allow individuals and small businesses to band together to purchase insurance, thus lowering the cost.
There is bipartisan support for the implementation of insurance exchanges, including support from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the Minnesota Business Partnership, and various health care stakeholders. The grants will help Minnesota develop an insurance exchange within the framework of Minnesota’s nation leading health care system, said State Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL – St. Paul).
“Minnesota has been ahead of the pack when it comes to health care reform and the insurance exchange is an opportunity to continue leading,” said Murphy. “There is much work to be done, but I am confident we can bring people together to develop a consumer friendly Minnesota exchange that offers Minnesotans quality health care at a better price.”
“This grant will give us the opportunity to create a ‘Made in Minnesota’ exchange, with the opportunity to craft the exchange however we see fit, tailoring it to the needs of our state's families, employers, and health care system,” Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL – Rochester), DFL lead on the Health and Human Services Reform Committee said. “We should not miss an opportunity to adopt a nation-leading, Minnesota built solution.”
The Minnesota Department of Commerce will be charged with utilizing the grant to assist with exchange development, technical infrastructure, and stakeholder work groups to help design an insurance exchange marketplace.
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