The chief executives at Allina Health System and a trade group for health insurers are among those named to a new state task force that will consider the future of Minnesota’s public health care programs including MNsure and MinnesotaCare.
Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday released his 11 appointees to the task force, which was created through legislation earlier this year to tackle thorny questions about financing and operating the state’s health care programs.
The task force will be the arena for debate over the future of MNsure, after Republicans and DFLers couldn’t agree during the legislative session on major changes for the state’s health insurance exchange.
Republicans have called for dropping MNsure in favor of the federal government’s HealthCare.gov website. They’ve also called for fundamental changes to the MinnesotaCare program, which provides health insurance for lower-income Minnesotans.
DFLers have talked about seeking federal innovation waivers to address coverage “cliffs,” where people with small income gains move from comprehensive coverage in MinnesotaCare to private plans with large deductibles. As a result, people can find themselves with unaffordable medical bills even though they have health insurance coverage.
The 33-person task force is scheduled to begin meeting in August, and report its final recommendations to Dayton and lawmakers by Jan. 15. The Legislature appropriated $500,000 for actuarial reports and research that would assist the task force in developing recommendations.
Like other appointees named by Dayton on Friday, Dr. Penny Wheeler, the chief executive at Allina, and Jim Schowalter, president of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans, will serve terms running from Aug. 5 through Jan. 16, 2016.
Lynn Blewett, a health policy expert at the University of Minnesota, and Larry Schulz, the chief executive at Lake Region Healthcare in Fergus Falls, also will serve on the task force.
Dayton’s other appointees include: Elizabeth Doyle of TakeAction Minnesota; Monica Hurtado of Voices for Racial Justice; Sheila Kiscaden, an Olmsted County commissioner; Sahra Noor of People’s Center Health Services; Dr. Marilyn Peitso of CentraCare Health; Rosemarie Roach of the Minnesota Nurses Association; and Dr. Todd Stivland of Bluestone Physician Services.
House Republicans have named four members to the task force: Rep. Matt Dean of Dellwood, Rep. Tara Mack of Apple Valley, Christopher Schneeman, president of Seven Hills Benefit Partners, and Molly Jungbauer, chief executive of Hollstadt & Associates.
Senate DFLers appointed four members, as well: Sen. Jeff Hayden of Minneapolis, Sen. Tony Lourey of Kerrick, Sen. John Marty of Roseville, and Sen. Kathy Sheran of Mankato.
House DFLers appointed Dannette Coleman, a senior vice president with Medica, Phillip Cryan of SEIU Healthcare, and Rep. Jennifer Schultz of Duluth.
As of Friday afternoon, Senate Republicans hadn’t named their three members to the task force.
Rounding out the group will be the state commissioners of Human Services, Commerce and Health, plus the executive director of MNsure.