To the Editor...Support health insurance exchange bill
By: John Fisher-Merritt, Pine Journal
To the Editor:
I am writing to promote the Health Insurance Exchange bill put forward by Senator Tony Lourey and Representative Joe Atkins. The Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange needs to represent the people of Minnesota, not the insurance companies who have been driving our increasingly expensive health care system. The conflict of interest portion of the bill as introduced insures that no health insurance companies or their representatives will sit on the Health Insurance Exchange Board.
I am a farmer over 65 years old. Before I was eligible for Medicare, I had to purchase health care insurance without the benefit of any larger group. The year before I turned 65, I spent one-third of my income on a plan that benefitted my wife and I only after we had spent $6,000 out of pocket. That is why the “active purchaser” portion of the bill is so important. Unlike big corporate employers, small businesses, families and individuals like me can’t negotiate with insurance companies for better, more affordable coverage. The exchange needs to be an active purchaser which can negotiate with insurance companies for better deals for people and require companies to provide clear options that are better, more affordable and easier to compare.
In spite of intense health insurance industry lobbying, Sen. Lourey is determined to ensure that the Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange works for the benefit of all Minnesotans by making sure that insurance company representatives don’t sit on the exchange board and that the Health Insurance Exchange can negotiate a better deal for everyday Minnesotans. Please call your Minnesota state Senators and Representatives and urge them to vote yes on Senate File No. 1 and House File No. 5 as introduced.
John Fisher-Merritt, Wrenshall