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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe McDonald (R)

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Welcoming your input; caucus meetings this Tuesday

Monday, February 03, 2014

Greetings,

 

The 2014 legislative session is less than one month away and I continue welcoming input from area citizens as we prepare.

 

Another way people can exercise their voice, regardless of party affiliation, is by attending their precinct caucus meeting 7 p.m. Tuesday. These meetings are open to the public and attendees will elect precinct officers, discuss issues and ideas for the party to support, conduct a straw poll for governor, elect delegates for the political conventions and vote on other items of business.

 

Precinct caucus veterans, feel free to bring friends and family who maybe are not active at this level. Young people also are invited to attend so they can attend as observers, learn how the process works and lay the groundwork for future involvement.

The Minnesota Secretary of State’s office provides more information about precinct caucuses – including specific meeting locations – on its website. Good luck and I hope you are able to attend a caucus meeting Tuesday. Bring friends and/or family!

 

The state’s version of Obamacare remains in the headlines for all the wrong reasons as the new session draws nearer. Problems with MNsure persist and citizens have encountered ongoing website crashes, absurdly long wait times, confusing processes, difficulty submitting payments, communication breakdowns between MNsure and carriers, vulnerability to WiFi attacks and breaches of private data.

 

And, shockingly, we recently learned that 14 MNsure managers received bonuses for their work on this project. This news comes on the heels of an independent report indicating MNsure’s structure is “non-existent” and that executives have been making decisions in a “crisis mode.”

 

Bonuses for building a failing program! How can this happen? This is government at its worst and taxpayers deserve better.

 

Much of this is the product of Gov. Mark Dayton and fellow Democrats ignoring concerns we in the minority voiced as they created MNsure. We advocated for greater oversight, a larger and more experienced board of directors and more efficiency. This would have mitigated the problems that have cropped up. We offered hundreds of amendments that would have brought more transparency and affordability to MNsure, but the majority turned back almost every one of the ideas we brought forward.

 

Now, enrollment continues to fall far short of what is necessary to sustain this government program and that could cost taxpayers even more. A thorough investigation currently underway by the state auditor could help us learn what improvements can be made during the upcoming session. Some problems ultimately may be beyond repair.

 

For now, I am interested in hearing your experiences with MNsure and invite your emails on this topic.

 

Regards,

Joe

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