Minnesota Says No to Obama’s Fix

I assume that most state regulatory authorities have not yet responded to the Obama administration’s request that they suspend enforcement of Obamacare as to individual and small group policies for 2014, and allow policies in existence in 2013 to be renewed even though they are illegal. But one state that has reacted is Minnesota; perhaps it is a harbinger of what is to come. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:

Gov. Mark Dayton said Monday that he’s decided against giving Minnesotans who buy insurance on their own the option to keep their existing health plans another year.

Dayton said a letter from the state’s largest insurance companies convinced him that allowing some people that flexibility would be too disruptive and could lead to premium increases. …

Under fire over the rollout of the federal health law, President Obama last week gave states the discretion to decide whether to allow some individuals to be grandfathered in on their current policies for a year even if the plans didn’t comply with the law.

But Dayton said he would ask Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman to continue the implementation of the state’s health insurance exchange, MNsure, as it is presently designed.

The Minnesota Council of Health Plans, the industry group that represents Minnesota’s largest insurance companies, outlined “serious concerns” about the president’s plan in a five-page letter to Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman.

The group represents seven insurers across the state, including Twin Cities-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthPartners, Medica, PreferredOne and UCare.

“The President’s announcement comes too late to allow health plans and our regulator to complete filings, rate approvals and communications regarding re-enrollments in time to prevent major market disruptions for Minnesotans in the individual marketplace,” executive eirector Julie Brunner wrote.

So it sounds like Obama’s “fix” is unworkable; no surprise there. Also, there is no more partisan politician in America than Mark Dayton, and if he feels free to reject the Obama administration’s overture and rely instead on input from the insurance industry, one suspects that word has gone out from the administration that the “fix” was only for show, and states should feel free to disregard it.

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