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MNsure oversight panel to meet next month

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The legislative panel formed to oversee the implementation of Minnesota’s new health insurance exchange is scheduled to hold its next meeting on Jan. 9, more than three months after its last meeting and well after the sign-up deadline for enrollees who need insurance on the first of the year.

The schedule was posted online today, a day after Republican legislative leaders called on the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee to meet more frequently. The committee has met three times. The last meeting was Sept. 24.

During a news conference yesterday to raise concerns about the MNsure enrollment process, Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, said the lack of committee activity was “unacceptable.”

“This oversight committee should be overseeing this process to make sure people are insured,” Hann said. “That’s the bottom line. That’s not happening.”

One of the DFL co-chairs of the committee said he also wants more meetings. But Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, said too many committee members were traveling in November and December to find dates that worked. He said the January meeting had been planned for a couple of weeks. Atkins said despite the meeting gap, he and others members have been in regular contact with MNsure leadership.

“Whether there’s a formal meeting or not doesn’t mean that there’s not oversight taking place and communication between legislators about concerns about what’s going on,” Atkins said.

Atkins said he met this morning with MNsure Executive Director April Todd-Malmlov to discuss what the agency is doing to address recent technical challenges. Atkins said he’s been working with MNsure staff for nearly a year and described it as “a good experience.”

“I’m hopeful that we’re able to move forward here,” he said.