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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bud Nornes (R)

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MNsure slow at start; addressing workforce skills gap

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dear Neighbor,

 

There were concerns the new state-run health care program – MNsure – was not ready for prime time at its Oct. 1 start date. Disappointingly, that proved to be the case and concerns remain today.

 

Citizens have been reluctant to sign up for MNsure. Those who have logged onto the state website encounter malfunctions, a cumbersome process and long wait times. It sounds a lot like problems the poorly designed Obamacare system has experienced at the federal level.

 

I recently spoke with two waitresses from our area that were pleased with their MNCare service and are uneasy with being herded into a different program. It remains unclear whether citizens will be able to keep their doctor of choice when they select a new coverage plan, another source of unrest.

 

Enrollment numbers have been very slow to start. A Pioneer Press article recently addressed the “murky” numbers so far, indicating “Insurance companies point out that they haven't yet received information from MNsure about any of the 406 people who are making plans to pay premiums.”

 

A whole lot of work remains if MNsure proponents are going to reach their goal of 1.3 million enrollees. The statewide consequences for falling considerably short could be disastrous.

 

On another note, I recently met with people from the Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program. This organization helps bring displaced workers together with employers seeking applicants. A top concern CEP has surrounds a skills gap in the state, where there are not enough workers to fill job openings in certain industries. Click here for a report from the Minnesota Dept. of Employment and Economic Development on this topic.

 

A new task force created by the House minority is taking a closer look how we can rectify this situation. The group will offer recommendations to the Legislature early next year for how to redesign our state’s secondary and postsecondary education to better match training with workforce demands/needs. I will circle back to this important economic issue as we gain more information.

 

Sincerely,

Bud

 

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