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Column:Minnesota's new exchange anything but healthy

If you want government to control your future health care decisions, you will be pleased to know that a Minnesota Democrat health care exchange bill has been approved by the Minnesota House.

Simply put, this legislation is the first step towards single-payer health care.

The Democrats' health exchange is required under the federal Affordable Care Act, which asks each state to set up an Internet portal (known as an "exchange") for the purchase of health insurance. Small businesses with up to 100 employees or those without coverage can purchase health coverage in this exchange.

While it sounds good on paper, the plan that has been put into motion does nothing to ensure that participants can keep their doctor, receive better coverage or pay less for their health insurance.

Instead of lowering costs, the exchange will actually make health care more expensive and less affordable. Everyone's health insurance premium will be taxed at 3.5 percent to pay for the exchange. The approximately $100 million per biennium to pay for this monster will be passed along to those who are purchasing health insurance -- meaning you, me, and the rest of Minnesotans who work every day will pay for this.

Even the Democrats' own plan analysts say that insurance premiums will go up as much as 29 percent in the individual and small market groups. So get ready to pay more.

The plan also creates a "super agency" where seven appointed members will make future health care decisions in this state without regard to citizen impact. It will have no oversight whatsoever - what it says, goes.

If it wants to limit the amount of providers who can participate in the exchange, for whatever reason, it will. This is not good news for Minnesota consumers.

Finally, there is no assurance that the self-employed and small-business employees will be able to keep their current plan or their doctor, if he or she doesn't participate in the exchange. In that case, you would have to pay more because federal tax credits would not be available to lower your health care costs.

This is what happens when you give a Democrat Legislature and a

Democrat governor the keys to the car -- government overreach.

Their health care exchange will decrease access to affordable health care and reduce the ability for people to choose health care decisions, yet it is moving full speed ahead because they have the votes to do whatever they want.

The first tax increase of the session has now been approved in the Minnesota House, and I'm afraid it will be the first of many.

Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, can be reached at 651-296-2273 or