Keep corporate influence out of Health Insurance Exchange Board

To the editor:

In the Saturday, Feb. 2, edition of the Marshall Independent newspaper, I was utterly amazed to see the headline “Representative wants exchange group to have more accountability.” It is unbelievable that Representative Swedzinski seems to think the Exchange Board should be lined with representatives from the corporate insurance industry. Accountability is not achieved by appointing people who have such an obvious conflict of interest to a public board.

Putting insurance industry people on the new Health Insurance Exchange Board is just like putting the fox in charge of the hen house. It just doesn’t work! How can people in the insurance industry decide, in an unbiased manner, what insurance products should qualify to be on the exchange?

How could they possibly set some common sense standards that insurance companies must meet in order for their plan to be listed on the exchange? The insurance industry’s motive is their underlying profit. The purpose of the exchange is to get better plans more affordable and understandable for more Minnesotans without insurance industry overreach.

We are at a critical juncture in this state. Will we get a health care exchange that puts Minnesota on a path that takes a key step to make health care more affordable or will corporate insurance representatives dominate that exchange board?

Land Stewardship Project became involved in the issue of health care because many of our members, especially those who are beginning farmers or in small business, find themselves facing overwhelming health insurance premiums with ever increasing deductibles because they are not part of a group policy.

Now is the time for Minnesota legislators to put the health care interests of citizens first, not the corporate HMO lobbyists who have been lining the halls of the State Capitol.

Paul Sobocinski

Farmer and Senior Policy Organizer

Land Stewardship Project