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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R)

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Friday, April 29, 2016

How has MNsure failed us? Let me count the ways.


With the stated goal of providing affordable health care to Minnesotans – and knowing they could do better than the federal healthcare exchange – legislative Democrats singlehandedly approved MNsure.


So three years and more than $300 million later, what do we have to show for it?


Hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans have been forced to either wait months for health care coverage, were incorrectly told their coverage would be canceled, were sent incorrect bills, or were blocked from enrollment.


The number of people who did enroll didn’t come close to meeting projections, leaving taxpayers holding the bag. Health insurance premiums skyrocketed. A non-partisan legislative auditor’s report found that up to $271 million may have been wasted on MNsure public program enrollees who were not eligible for benefits, and property liens were placed on the estates of residents who were forced by MNsure to sign up for Medical Assistance.


And at least one person died thanks to MNsure’s incompetence.


Gail Dunker had been battling breast cancer since 2007. With their health insurance costs going through the roof, they turned to MNsure to help ease their financial pain. Instead their problems intensified as the Dunker’s struggled to finalize MNsure coverage, leaving them without insurance and therefore unable to book medical appointments. Months later, it was discovered that cancer had spread throughout her body. Gail Dunker died in 2015.


The evidence is crystal clear: MNsure is not working. It has never worked. It is a floundering boondoggle that has harmed thousands of Minnesota families by booting them from their preferred health insurance choice, and crippled thousands more who are now struggling to acquire and pay for health insurance made all the more expensive by MNsure’s expansion.


Recently the Minnesota House took action, passing legislation that, in part, would end MNsure.


The effort, led by House Health and Human Services Chairman Matt Dean, would allow MNsure to obtain a federal waiver, fully repeal the state exchange, and begin transitioning its customers onto the federal health exchange beginning with 2017 enrollments.


There is not a lawmaker around that does not support Minnesotans being able to acquire affordable health insurance. But we need to help people while being fiscally responsible, and MNsure is failing in both of these regards.