Weather Forecast


Health chief Sanne Magnan close to final confirmation

A legislative committee praised Gov. Tim Pawlenty's new health commissioner Monday, making Dr. Sanne Magnan's chances at final confirmation by the Democrat-controlled Senate favorable.

The Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee approved Magnan's appointment. Linda Berglin, a top senator on health care and frequent Pawlenty adversary on health-care issues, enthusiastically backed Magnan.

"Her experience, her background, her knowledge in a variety of areas is very timely in terms of the kinds of things we need to do moving forward as a state," said Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis.

Pawlenty appointed Magnan Department of Health commissioner last year. She replaced Dianne Mandernach, who resigned amid criticism she delayed the release of information about the deaths of Iron Range mine workers who suffered from a rare lung cancer called mesothelioma.

Small business help

A bill moving through the House would require health insurers to tell their small business clients about low-cost health care plans that are available.

"By passing this bill, we can make small employers aware of more affordable health care coverage options available for their employees," Rep. Denise Dittrich, DFL-Champlin, said. "In doing so, we can help save small businesses money while ensuring that those who are eligible for health insurance, receive it."

Dittrich said many health care companies offer less expensive plans for small businesses, but all employers know they exist.