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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R)

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More questions about MNsure

Friday, September 13, 2013

Dear Friends,

When the Democrats passed their Health Insurance Exchange -- the Minnesota version of ObamaCare -- several months ago, Republicans repeatedly warned about three main problems: fewer choices, higher costs, and less privacy for your private health data.

With the October 1 launch date of MNsure rapidly approaching, it seems to me that Minnesotans have more questions than answers about this $300 million dollar website that will handle the private health data of the more than 1 million people expected to participate in the exchange.

Yesterday, KSTP reported that in a closed-door meeting with the Greater Minnesota Health Care Coalition, Senator Tony Lourey, the architect of the Democrats' Insurance Exchange in the Senate, stated that HMO health insurance providers who operate within MNsure would have to dip into their excess reserve accounts to cover potential budget shortfalls in the program.

What does this mean for Minnesotans? If MNsure health insurance premiums are not adequate because they are artificially underpriced, Minnesotans will be forced to pay even higher insurance premiums in the future for government mandated health insurance in order to "make sure it is profitable."

Even worse, it was reported late yesterday evening that MNsure suffered a data breach impacting about 2,400 people including social security numbers and other private information. Individuals who were impacted by the data breach were contacted, so if you have not heard from the state, you were not impacted.

If MNsure is already unable to keep safe social security numbers and other data, how can we be absolutely sure that the private health data of more than 1 million Minnesotans will be safe? The stories in recent years about illegal, improper, or accidental data breaches by Minnesota government agencies are too many to count. 

That's why Republican members of the MNsure oversight committee have demanded that the committee meet again to address these important data privacy questions. With just a couple of weeks before the exchange is set to start, it's shameful that the Democrat chairs of the oversight committee refuse to meet. Governor Dayton claimed that the desire for a simple oversight hearing was an effort to do anything to kill it by those who oppose the law.

That's simply ridiculous. With Democrats in complete control of state government, there is no way to kill the health insurance exchange. A simple oversight hearing is needed to reassure Minnesotans and answer the key questions about how MNsure will keep private health data safe. It's a total abdication of the oversight committee's responsibility not to answer these outstanding questions before October 1st.

I will keep you up to date as best I can on MNsure as it begins October 1st, and my fellow Republicans and I will continue to fight to make sure MNsure is held accountable for their mistakes and answers the questions Minnesotans have about their questionable practices.

Have a great weekend,


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