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St. Paul, Minnesota – Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed HF 1933, a bill creating a Health Care Compact asking Congress for sole authority to regulate Minnesota’s health care system, impeding attempts to set up a health care insurance exchange required by federal law. Additionally, despite asking for sole authority in regulating Minnesota’s health care system, the bill would replace Medicaid and Medicare with block grants from the federal government. The bill passed on a largely party line vote, 69-58.
The bill is one of many heard this session from American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that is funded mainly by the country’s largest corporations like Koch Industries, Walmart, and United States Smokeless Tobacco Company — in order to push legislation to directly benefit big business. ALEC has consistently advocated and written draft legislation for controversial policies like Voter ID, decreased economic and environmental regulations, and until recently, “Stand Your Ground" gun bills. Amid increased scrutiny, several corporations have ended their involvement with the organization.
Both State Representative Joe Atkins (DFL—Inver Grove Heights) and State Representative Erin Murphy (DFL—St. Paul) introduced separate pieces of legislation aimed at developing and implementing a comprehensive health insurance exchange in Minnesota. They worry the type of precedent passage of this legislation may create.
“We had an extraordinary opportunity to work bi-partisanly on an exchange that reflects the uniqueness of our state,” said Rep. Murphy. “As this is shaping up to be a do-nothing session, I’m disappointed that the GOP is intent on doing nothing on creating a comprehensive exchange, the likes of which would ensure affordable, quality care for all Minnesotans.”
“Not only does this bill completely prevent Minnesota from establishing a health insurance exchange, it was copied word for word from model legislation drafted by big corporate interests,” said Rep. Atkins. “They didn’t even both to change the font. With bills like this, corporations are literally trying to write Minnesota laws and rig the game just to increase their bottom lines.
“As the attention paid to ALEC has increased — and their support for controversial legislation has come to light — corporations have left in droves. Why the Republican majority believes passing bills authored by giant corporations is good for Minnesota is beyond me.”
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