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Trust accounts plan gets vetoed (veto)

Published (5/25/2012)
By Mike Cook
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A plan to authorize the use of trust accounts to pay for health insurance premiums was met with a gubernatorial veto.

Rep. Steve Gottwalt (R-St. Cloud), who sponsored the bill with Sen. David Hann (R-Eden Prairie), said the bill would help Minnesotans achieve access to affordable health care coverage in the private market. It would have allowed multiple sources to contribute money to a unified personal health premium account that would allow a person to pay for an individual, private health insurance account. Employers would have been able to contribute on a tax-preferred basis.

Supporters said the bill would help, for example, underemployed and uninsured part-time workers.

“On the one hand, the goals of this bill are closely aligned with those of the federal Affordable Care Act,” Gov. Mark Dayton wrote in his veto letter. “Both offer new ideas for how to aggregate public and private sector contributions for purchasing private health insurance coverage. Both allow the government to take a more active role in determining how consumers find affordable health insurance policies. Both would expand and maximize the use of government-funded tax subsidies and employer contributions for the purchase of health insurance.”

However, Dayton said the bill would weaken consumer protection and the need for contributors to have a different account “would create a complex maze of interwoven funding streams, accounts and contracts. Consumers might have even less ability to know and predict their health care resources and liabilities, putting them at even greater risk of being ensnared by the health care industry’s debt collection tactics.”

The governor wrote that a health insurance exchange is a better way to go because it “would offer a consumer-friendly, online marketplace where consumers can choose a private health insurance plan without the need for multiple accounts, contracts, and other unnecessary roadblocks.”

HF8*/ SF32/CH276

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