Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday appointed his former state budget commisisoner, an Olmsted County commissoner and former state senator, a handful of doctors and others to a new state task force on the future of public health care in Minnesota.
Dayton proposed the task force earlier this year in response to concerns about MNsure, the state's health insurance exchange under Obamacare; and MinnesotaCare, which provides state subsidies to low-income patients.
MNsure has consistently struggled to deliver health insurance coverage efficiently and effectively. MinnesotaCare has serious funding questions in its future, with the planned 2019 elimination of a state tax on medical providers that's been a major source of funding for the program. The programs are deeply connected as MinnesotaCare recipients choose coverage through MNsure.
Earlier this year, House Republicans voted to eliminate MinnesotaCare. Dayton and Senate DFLers united against the plan. Republicans have also been highly critical of MNsure. In the end, Republicans signed on to Dayton's task force proposal, which includes both gubernatorial and legislative appointees.
Dayton appointed 11 members. They include Jim Schowalter, who led the state Management and Budget office under Dayton and now leads the Minnesota Council of Health Plans. Olmsted County Commissioner Sheila Kiscaden, a former state senator, also got an appointment.
Three doctors are among Dayton's appointees, as well as several healthcare executives, a labor official and several community activists. House Speaker Kurt Daudt appointed two state legislators, an insurance agency president and a business consultant.
The group starts meeting in August and must present a set of recommendations to Dayton and legislators by January 15, 2016.