Lohmer: Health care exchange is wrong for Minnesota


ST. PAUL — On March 6, the Minnesota House or Representatives took up the health insurance exchange legislation. This was a product of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) passed by Congress in 2010 that asks each state to set up an Internet portal (known as an “exchange”) for the purchase of health insurance.

This is not a free market proposal. Please do not be fooled by the word “exchange” when you hear about how this is being implemented. This is a government exchange. Never in the history of Minnesota has an entity been created with such enormous power and so little oversight.

One major concern is personal privacy. We don’t know what private health data this government exchange will collect from Minnesotans or what other state and federal agencies will have access to that information.

Equally as concerning is the creation of the unelected and unaccountable seven-member political board that will determine the future of healthcare inside the government exchange. This board is accountable to no one, will have unchecked power and will drastically affect your ability to choose your own healthcare plan.

Furthermore, there is absolutely no guarantee that Minnesotans will be able to keep their own doctor. The government exchange seeks to control the entire health insurance market in order to limit your choice of insurance coverage and prevent you from choosing your own doctor. In order to keep their healthcare affordable through federal subsidies, people will have to purchase their health insurance from the government exchange. Even the DFL chief author of the bill admitted in committee that the government exchange would reduce the number of health insurance options from more than 750 to less than 60. Given the fewer number of options, it’s hard to believe you’ll be able to keep your own doctor.

Fewer options bring higher costs. To fund its operations, the seven-member political board will levy a tax up to 3.5 percent on every plan sold within the government exchange. The projected revenue is dependent upon high participation in the government exchange. The fewer the people who use the exchange, the higher the tax on premiums will be for everyone else who uses it. Instead of lowering costs, the government exchange will make healthcare more expensive and less affordable.

Making sure people have access to quality healthcare is very important to me. However, this government exchange does nothing to guarantee better healthcare, lower insurance premiums, or create savings in the healthcare system. Instead, it’s an extremely expensive government infrastructure bill that imposes layers of bureaucracy between Minnesotans and their healthcare. Because of these reasons, I voted no on passage of this bill.

Rep. Kathy Lohmer represents House District 39B. She can be reached at 651-296-4244, by e-mail at [email protected] or by U.S. Mail at 239 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155.

  • Ann Francis

    Thanks Kathy, so simple to see that this movement toward “exchanges” is nothing but another distraction with nothing to do with health care or the good of anybody it is but another tactic to control the masses!
    God Bless you in your work!

  • Bill

    Kathy, I’m confused. How can this limit anything? People still have the right to choose their own health care outside of this exchange, correct?

    My employer lets me choose from 1 healthcare plan and you state here that people that use the exchange are limited because they only have 60 plans to choose from?

    So 60 plans competing for your dollar is going to be more expensive. I thought the GOP mantra was “more competition, lower costs”.

    Look at priceline compared to this exchange. All those companies competing for your money and the website takes a cut. Costs stay down.

    Good companies get your business, website stays afloat, and the consumer gets a good price. Win, win, and win.

    Add to this the fact that you can’t be denied coverage because of preexisting conditions and insurance is required for all. Hey, now you have people paying for their own insurance instead of me paying it for them. Personal responsibility. Has the GOP given up on their platform just so they can disagree with Obama

    If your party would have helped during this process instead of whatever it was you were doing, we could have something successful right out of the chute.

    If we didn’t pass this we would have to use the federal exchange at 3 times the cost upping the odds for failure……..Is that what you want?

    • Jerry

      Comparing the Exchange to Priceline and other private companies fails to support your argument. Priceline and other private companies will go out of business if they fail to add value and make a profit. The Exchange is a government entity that will never go out of business, regardless of the value it adds. Rather, it becomes another government bureaucracy that must be supported by tax dollars in perpetuity.

      • Bill

        So lets just throw up our hands and continue paying ever increasing costs for healthcare. Now at $1 for every 6 earned and continue to pay for those who wish to “roll the dice” as limbaugh says. Problem is the rest of us are the ones who pay when the “craps” is lost.

  • Dan Reick

    I second Ann Francis’ comment. More controll over the citizens; less accountability for Washington.

  • Judy Screaton

    Representative Lohmer once again voted against providing any medical help to thousands of Minnesotans. What is so amazing about her vote is that she personally understands the trauma associated with catastrophic illnesses. Her oldest son, Nick, was born with Spina Bifida, and has had over 70 surgeries. Minnesota taxpayers paid for this through the MinnCare system. It is very troubling to me that Rep. Lohmer is willing to accept government help for herself and her family, and then refuses to help other Minnesotans who desperately need help with their medical expenses.