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Better deal on health insurance needed in state

    Minnesotans either will get a better deal on health insurance or they will face problems if the Legislature and governor agree on a new way for 1.3 million Minnesotans to buy health insurance. We’re hoping it’s a better deal.

    Legislators debated the health insurance bill Monday night, which was approved 72-58.

    Forum News Service reports that Republicans, who put up nearly 100 amendments to change or gut the bill, agreed it was significant, but said the measure was not ready.

    Senators take up a similar measure Thursday. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to receive a final bill by the end of the month, signing it into law to put the exchange in place in time for Minnesotans to begin shopping for insurance online by fall.

    The exchange is in response to a federal health care law known as Obamacare. If our state legislators do not pass a bill, federal officials will set up the system so it is in our best interest to iron out the details at a state level.

    If the exchange becomes law, Minnesota would become the only state in the area to adopt the concept. Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa are not on track to set up exchanges, so the federal government will run exchanges there.

    There is some worry among legislators about higher premiums in rural Minnesota. That is something we don’t want to see.

    However, others say that the average Minnesota family would save money.

    The exchange would be available through the Internet and by telephone. It is supposed to make it easy to compare insurance policies and their prices.

    Some legislators estimate 1.3 million Minnesotans would buy insurance through the exchange. Of those, 300,000 lack insurance today. Federal law requires every American to carry insurance or pay a penalty.

    We all know that changes need to be made to health insurance. We’re relying on our legislators to make sure Minnesotans are getting the best options and cost savings available.

    We hope senators can continue to work on a health exchange bill and something will be passed this session.