A brief update as we head into February.
Governor Dayton’s bonding proposal
As you may have heard, earlier this month Governor Dayton announced his bonding proposal for the upcoming session. As expected, the Governor’s bonding bill shows a profound favoritism toward the twin cities, and not even $1 was proposed to repair roads and bridges in suburban or rural Minnesota. With a $1.4 billion dollar price tag, this is simply unconscionable. Governor Dayton found it reasonable not to bond any funding at all for transportation infrastructure in greater Minnesota, but did find it a good use of our state’s bond rating to purchase a snow-making machine in Saint Paul and ski lifts for Giants Ridge Ski Resort.
Bonding dollars should be used very sparingly, so as not to put our state's bond rating at risk. Of all the projects bonding dollars could be used for, it seems like common sense that a snow-making machine and ski lifts are not responsible choices, and benefit very few in our state. It’s disappointing, but not in the least surprising, that the Governor would choose to fund such frivolous projects, yet allocate no bonding dollars to transportation infrastructure in greater Minnesota.
Audit of MNSure turns up faulty eligibility verification
Legislative Auditor James Nobles found substantial errors in the eligibility of those who were enrolled in the public insurance options, Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare. In studying a sample of 157 people who enrolled between January –May 2015, the State Auditor found that 59 people were not qualified for the public program they were enrolled in. Applying the “rate of failure” from this sample group (38%) to all MNSure enrollments during the same time, Mr. Nobles estimates that there is anywhere from 80,902-132,140 people who were enrolled in the wrong program, or are not eligible for the coverage they received. The Auditor concluded that the procedures used to verify eligibility when enrolling people in the MA and MinnesotaCare were inadequate, and have resulted in an overpayment by the state of Minnesota in the neighborhood of $115 million-$271 million between January to May of last year.
According to the report issued by the Office of the Legislative Auditor, “This is a repeat finding.” While democrats keep insisting that these “kinks” will get worked out in time, our state is losing huge amounts of money due to MNSure officials’ incompetence. The refusal of the Governor or other democratic officials to hold anyone accountable is truly astounding when these huge failures are being found at such a depressingly regular rate.
I will continue to keep you updated on this issue as we approach session, which begins March 8th.