Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Recent News
Home / News / Hann questions payments to exchange staff
More than $787,000 is being paid to nine state employees, the Senate Health and Human Services chair said, with no clear purpose.

Hann questions payments to exchange staff

Sen. David Hann (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

Senate Health and Human Services Chairman David Hann is questioning more than $787,000 in salary payments being made to nine state employees working as part of the state’s nascent health insurance exchange.

“My question is simply, what are these people doing?” Hann said at a Friday Capitol news conference. “Hiring nine people at a cost to the public of more than three-quarters of a million dollars to do nothing is a clear misuse of public dollars.”

Hann is questioning the salaries of nine people hired as preliminary staff for the state’s health insurance exchange, which must be established by 2014 under the federal health care law. Those positions include an executive director making $108,388 annually and a communications director making nearly $80,000.

“There is still no clear purpose for what these people are doing,” Hann said. “I think that’s a scandal.”

The state has until Jan. 1, 2013 to show the federal government that a framework for implementation exists, but it isn’t expected to be operational for another year.

Shortly after coming into office, the Dayton administration moved forward on the exchange process — over the objections of Republicans. Gov. Mark Dayton established a task force to study the exchange implementation, in which Republicans were invited to participate, but they declined. Many Republicans at the Capitol in general oppose establishing the exchange, a central part of the federal health care law through which thousands of Minnesotans will buy insurance come 2014.

Hann’s criticism also comes amid a debate over whether the Dayton administration even has the authority to move forward on an exchange without the Legislature. Those questions, which were raised again earlier this week, once had Hann threatening a lawsuit, but he’s since simply pledged to exert oversight on the process.

This week, Dayton said it’s possible legislation would be necessary on an exchange, although the administration intends to move forward without it if necessary. Before Hann’s committee Tuesday, Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman reiterated that general position, but said the administration doesn’t intend to bring an exchange bill to the Legislature.

That, Hann said Friday, raises questions about the very purpose of the task force and how far along the exchange has progressed.

“He’s clearly got something in mind,” Hann said. “If he’s got something in mind, he should just share it.”

Two DFLers have said they’ll soon introduce exchange bills of their own. Hann, meanwhile called on Friday for the governor to make public more information on exchange efforts and his administration’s intentions.

Leave a Reply