MCCL puts pressure on lawmakers over health exchangesby Elizabeth Stawicki, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A prominent anti-abortion group is stepping up pressure on legislators to get more involved in planning a Minnesota health insurance exchange.
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life is calling on lawmakers to act soon on setting up an exchange, even though the group opposes the health care overhaul.
The GOP-controlled Legislature has not passed any legislation to establish an exchange in Minnesota and leaders have sparred with the Dayton administration as it develops one.
Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, who chairs the house health and human services reform committee tried unsuccessfully to pass exchange legislation last session. He's not sure whether there's more support now among lawmakers.
"My sense is that more people are learning about exchanges — what can be good about them as well as what could be bad about them," Gottwalt. "And they're coming to a more reasonable, more informed position on it."
An exchange is an online site where consumers and small businesses can compare health plans and purchase coverage.
States have to show they can operate an exchange in about a year or the federal government will impose on on them.
MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach said it's better that Minnesota chart its own course. "Obamacare's here and it is going to be implemented," Fischbach said. "If we're going to have an impact on it, it needs to be now."
Fischbach said MCCL hopes that at least some of the health plans on the exchange do not pay for abortions but have strong coverage for maternity, pre-natal, and end-of-life care.