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Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange (MnSure)
On On March 20th, 2013, Governor Dayton signed the law creating a Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange, now called MnSure, in a historic move in health insurance reform. MnSure expands health insurance access to over 300,000 previously uninsured Minnesotans.
NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota worked very hard at the Capitol over the 2013 legislative session to make sure the implementation of MnSure did not move to limit access to the reproductive health care that women and their families need. Whether a woman has private or government-funded health insurance, every woman should have coverage for a full range of pregnancy related care, including abortion.
In the first version of the bill, the Minnesota House of Representatives voted to remove existing coverage of reproductive healthcare by a vote of 71-58. The amendment to Minnesota’s health insurance exchange would have prohibited health insurance plans participating in the exchange from offering abortion coverage. The amendment would have also forced survivors of rape to report the rape to the government within 48 hours to ensure abortion coverage, while survivors of incest would be required to report the incident and relative to the government before obtaining an abortion to receive coverage. The amendment was removed in conference committee.
The Senate version of the bill did not include any restrictions to abortion coverage.
VICTORY: After these attempts by anti-choice legislators to ban insurance plans on MnSure from including abortion coverage, NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota was successful in making sure the bill had no abortion coverage restrictions on the final bill signed by Governor Dayton.
A second bill related to the health insurance exchange established market rules for health insurance and made Minnesota laws conform to the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
An anti-choice amendment was added to the bill in the House, which was another ban on abortion coverage- an attempt to dictate to private insurance carriers what services they are allowed to offer in their plans, and was a blatant attack to eliminate coverage of basic reproductive health services for women in Minnesota.
VICTORY: This amendment was stripped from the final bill.
Along with the health insurance exchange MnSure implementation, there are a number of other bills that expand health access for Minnesotans, and NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota made sure that these bills work to protect women and their reproductive health care decisions. The Medical Assistance Expansion law was signed by Governor Dayton in February, and expands Medicaid eligibility to 35,000 low-income Minnesotans. Legislation also passed to roll MinnesotaCare (which provides quality health insurance to Minnesotans who are low-income and do not have other insurance) into the Basic Health Plan, allowing MinnesotaCare to continue.
2) Health and Human Services (HHS) Omnibus Bill
In addition to successfully stopping these anti-choice amendments, we saw two important pro-choice provisions pass in the bill – fully funding the family planning program and removing the MFIP Family Cap.
Family Planning Funding
A continued investment into family planning programs that allow all Minnesota women the ability and autonomy to make decisions about when to start or expand their families is critical. Nearly a quarter million Minnesota women are in need of publicly supported family planning services. Family planning is one of the best investments of state funding - for every $1 spent on family planning, the state saves $4. These essential programs provide women and their families with the tools to plan their lives, and NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota urges continued investment in these programs and services.
VICTORY: Family planning programs were fully funded in the 2013 HHS Omnibus bill.
Family Cap Repeal
As the law currently stands, the Family Cap within the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) actively denies family support to low income children born to low income mothers. At all levels of our public policy work, NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota supports programs that allow women to make the reproductive health choices that are best for them and their families. This current law is a means of controlling those reproductive healthcare decisions and we believe that low income women deserve to have the support to deliver and raise children as every other Minnesotan does.
In addition, current statute also states that there are exceptions for coverage if "the child was conceived as a result of a sexual assault or incest, provided that the incident has been reported to a law enforcement agency.” This exception collides with personal privacy by requiring parents to disclose to the State of Minnesota how a child was conceived and their private reproductive choices.
VICTORY: The Family Cap repeal was included in the HHS omnibus bill, and beginning January 1st 2015, the Family Cap will be removed.