Archive for the ‘DFL’ Category
The shortest summarization for this article is to say that North Dakota rejects expensive energy alternatives:
“It is no secret that Minnesota rules, laws and policies are highly influenced by various environmental groups and ideas,” Mike Diller, director of economic regulation for the N.D. Public Service Commission said during a hearing in January. “The environmental concerns of North Dakota are different than those of Minnesota and the cost of compliance with the environmental and energy policies in Minnesota is becoming a burden to North Dakota ratepayers.”
North Dakota sets a voluntary goal of generating 10 percent of its power from renewable sources, ranking third on the American Wind Energy Association list of states in percentage of wind power. Across the border, Minnesota requires 31.5 percent of Xcel Energy’s power be generated by wind and other subsidized, often less competitive, renewable energy sources by 2020.
Thanks to the Next Generation Energy Act, Minnesotans are subjected to high electricity prices. They’re substantially higher than the prices paid by North Dakotans:
A revolutionary settlement between the state of North Dakota and Xcel Energy’s Northern States Power unit will save North Dakota ratepayers nearly $6 million a year by exempting charges for higher-priced renewable energy from Minnesota.
Minnesotans have to decide whether they want to continue paying higher prices for electricity. They’ll also have to decide if they want to pay an extra $6,000,000 a year for green energy. In the end, they’ll have to decide whether they’d prefer legislators that listen to the people or legislators who listen to the environmental organizations that push that agenda.
The long-standing friction and frustration over the states’ opposing energy policies finally broke into the open during the hearings in Bismarck after Xcel Energy’s requested rate increase for North Dakota ratepayers. PSC regulators saw it as an opening to assert control over North Dakota’s energy independence and destiny. The final agreement includes a precedent-setting provision for Xcel to “re-stack” the mix of electric power allocated in North Dakota and reset rates based on least-cost conventional energy sources that match the state’s priorities.
It sounds like North Dakota will only pay Xcel for conventional energy sources, meaning Minnesotans will get hit with higher electricity prices, thanks to the NGEA. Everyone loves green energy as a concept. That support drops dramatically off when people are told that green energy is expensive.
Minnesota politicians talked about winning the future when they passed the NGEA. These days, people are upset with higher electricity prices. North Dakota finally said no to this nonsense. The DFL will never say no to this stupidity, which is why they need to be defeated this November.
This Strib article certainly can’t help Rick Nolan:
Republicans on Friday slammed Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan for planning a fundraiser with Peter Yarrow, the singer from the 1960s band Peter, Paul and Mary, who admitted in 1970 to having improper relations with a 14-year-old girl.
Rep. Nolan must be totally stupid for planning a fundraiser with this pervert. “Having improper relations with a 14-year-old” is timid language. Mr. Yarrow should still be in prison for statutory rape.
What’s interesting is that Nolan’s campaign didn’t respond to the Strib reporter:
Nolan’s spokeswoman deferred comments to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
“This is a desperate attempt from Stewart Mills to distract from the fact that he is personally offended when millionaires like himself are asked to pay their fair share,” said Brandon Lorenz, in an emailed statement.
If Rep. Nolan and the DCCC thinks that playing the class warfare card will deflect attention away from Peter Yarrow’s stench, they’re fools. If anyone’s desperate, it’s Nolan’s campaign and the DCCC.
Stewart Mills just was endorsed this weekend. According to people attending Saturday’s convention, Mills gave a great speech. Most importantly, these activists reported, the party’s support for Stewart Mills is enthusiastic. They think they’ve found a great candidate who’s got a fantastic message and who’s got a great fundraising machine.
Something else that’s interesting is what the Strib’s article didn’t include. Here’s part of Yarrow’s Wikipedia file:
In 1970, Yarrow was convicted of, and served three months in prison for, taking “improper liberties” with a 14-year-old girl who went with her 17-year-old sister to Yarrow’s hotel room seeking an autograph.
Why didn’t the Strib include this in their article? Saying that Yarrow admitted that he’d had “improper relations” with a 14-year-old isn’t the same as saying the pervert was convicted of a crime that included a prison sentence.
I’d be suprised if Nolan doesn’t disinvite Yarrow from the fundraiser. If he doesn’t, his political opponents will have a field day with him.
Technorati: Rick Nolan, DCCC, DFL, Peter Yarrow, Statutory Rape, Peter, Paul & Mary, Fundraiser, Stewart Mills, GOP, Election 2014
Jeffrey Meitrodt’s article shows how anxious Gov. Dayton and the DFL is to put their mismanagement and inattentiveness behind them:
DFL Rep. Joe Atkins, co-chairman of the oversight committee, said he “prefers to look forward” and not rehash the decisions that brought MNsure to where it is today. He praised the agency for signing up 181,000 customers since Oct. 1, well above its conservative goal of 135,000.
Whether Rep. Atkins prefers looking forward or not, I won’t until I highlight the terrible decisionmaking made by Gov. Dayton and April Todd-Malmlov. I won’t look forward until it’s exposed how disinterested the DFL-dominated MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee was about the systemic mismanagement problems Republicans were highlighting.
I wrote here that Sen. Lourey admitted that the Republicans were asking legitimate questions:
State Sen. Tony Lourey, the DFL co-chair of the oversight panel, said Republicans have “legitimate questions” that deserve to be answered.
It won’t be long before Sen. Lourey gets a call from Gov. Dayton’s enforcer. They can’t afford for him not to be on the same page with Gov. Dayton and Rep. Atkins.
Republican committee members, however, were frustrated with their inability to question administration officials about MNsure’s rollout. Dayton blocked key officials, including Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, from appearing Wednesday before the panel.
“We can’t improve things if we can’t work together,” Benson said.
Republican members of the panel said they welcomed tough media coverage of MNsure, citing the Star Tribune’s report that revealed Dayton was informed of major problems with MNsure’s website 12 days before the exchange launched. Dayton acknowledged this week that he “misspoke” when he previously said he was unaware of technical problems until November.
Sen. Benson said that she doesn’t think Gov. Dayton lied about his being unaware of MNsure’s difficulties. I disagree. Gov. Dayton didn’t misspeak. He lied about not getting briefed on MNsure’s impending disastrous rollout. Meitrodt’s article provided proof that Gov. Dayton was briefed by April Todd-Malmlov 12 days before MNsure went live.
The only way Gov. Dayton didn’t know about Todd-Malmlov’s brieifing is if he’s got Alzheimers. Since there isn’t any proof of that, it’s safe to say Gov. Dayton lied about MNsure for political/re-election campaign purposes.
Tuesday, Gov. Dayton made a major political mistake. He told legislators of both parties that the architects of MNsure couldn’t testify at an oversight hearing. Then he said that the Republicans’ strategy was a farce. Then Sen. Lourey, one of the co-chairs of the oversight committee, said that Republicans had legitimate questions that should be answered.
Thanks to his foolish tactics, Gov. Dayton’s flailing to regain his political footing. He’s acted like a monarch ruling from his throne. Until this week, Gov. Dayton had a likeability factor. Thanks to his imperious actions, he isn’t as likeable.
After watching this video, it’s apparent that Gov. Dayton is attempting to hide something from Minnesotans:
This article has more than a whiff of desparation to it.
Gov. Mark Dayton vowed Tuesday not to cooperate with a legislative panel that wants to question top officials in his administration about technical problems that marred the Oct. 1 launch of MNsure, the state’s health insurance exchange.
If Gov. Dayton doesn’t change his attitude ASAP, this will hurt him. Here’s why:
Legislative Auditor James Nobles, who is conducting a review of MNsure, said Todd-Malmlov has so far declined to discuss her stewardship of the agency. Nobles said he will take the unusual step of issuing a subpoena and using the courts to compel her testimony if she does not come in voluntarily for an interview.
“We think there are a lot of questions that need to be answered in a thorough and objective way,” Nobles said. “We want to hear her perspective. … She was at center stage, so to speak, and knows more than probably anybody.”
Mr. Nobles has subpoena power, meaning his questions will get answered. If that means compelling Tina Smith’s and Lucinda Jesson’s testimony, then that’s what he’ll do. Gov. Dayton’s contrived diatribe sounded exceptionally desparate:
During a news conference Tuesday, Dayton said Republicans are “making a mockery of the word oversight” and engaging in a “propaganda campaign” aimed at destroying MNsure.
“It is really irresponsible,” Dayton said. “The fact that they can pretend this is part of the oversight process is just ludicrous. They want to trash MNsure. … They want MNsure to fail.”
Gov. Dayton’s faux outrage isn’t convincing. Gov. Dayton insists that Republicans are “making a mockery” of the oversight process. That won’t last long:
State Sen. Tony Lourey, the DFL co-chair of the oversight panel, said Republicans have “legitimate questions” that deserve to be answered.
“We do need to answer for how the rollout occurred, and we certainly will,” Lourey said. “I am totally open to that.”
This is political trouble for Gov. Dayton. Jim Nobles, the much-respected Legislative Auditor, launched an investigation into MNsure’s disastrous rollout. Sen. Tony Lourey, the DFL co-chair of the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee, just said the Republicans’ questions are “legitimate” and that they deserve to be answered.
Most importantly, Gov. Dayton is acting like a monarch, telling the uppity peasants what he will and won’t do. If Gov. Dayton continues acting like royalty who can ignore legitimate questions, he’ll be in for a difficult re-election campaign.
It’s difficult to picture this turning out well for him if he continues acting like this.
From now through Election Day, Gov. Dayton and the DFL will employ an ostrich strategy. They’ll pretend they didn’t know MNsure would be a disaster ahead of time. This article proves that they knew but chose to pretend everything was fine:
Twelve days before Minnesota unveiled its $100 million health insurance exchange known as MNsure, a grim meeting was held at Gov. Mark Dayton’s residence in St. Paul.
April Todd-Malmlov, who had led the project, delivered a warning to the governor and his top advisers: No one was certain the new website built to help thousands of uninsured Minnesotans get health coverage would actually work.
The number of computer bugs in the system had recently surged from 237 to 270. And one-third of them were so severe that no stopgap fixes were possible.
After HealthCare.gov started with a crash, Gov. Dayton and the DFL trumpeted MNsure’s success compared with HealthCare.gov’s failures. At the time, the Twin Cities media just took their word for it. The Twin Cities media ignored complaints of systemic mismanagement at MNsure from Sen. Michelle Benson:
SEN. MICHELLE BENSON: I think we have a systemic management problem. Not prioritizing, not focusing on the things that are essential to have done on October 1. Data privacy is essential. Having good processes in place is essential. Now they made sure to roll out the Paul Bunyan ads and they made sure they had money for that and they kept that secret until they were ready to launch. But when it comes to the agents’ information, that wasn’t sequestered. It wasn’t treated with delicacy. The training — we found out today that navigator training isn’t moving at speed. Counties aren’t trained. Brokers aren’t trained. Those all should’ve been much higher priorities than the softer skill sets.
Sen. Benson made this statement during an interview given on Sept. 24, 2013. The list of things that weren’t ready is lengthy. These things were brought up that day at the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee hearing earlier in the day. Despite this lengthy list of substantive problems, Sen. Lourey and Rep. Atkins, the co-chairs of the Committee, didn’t hold another meeting of the Committee until January, 2014.
By that time, data security had failed repeatedly. MNsure’s executive director, April Todd-Malmlov had resigned. That’s after she took a 2-week vacation in Costa Rica with her lover. By the time the next hearing was held, thousands of dollars in bonuses had been paid to people who’d totally screwed up the system.
Then there’s this:
“I lament that I didn’t ask the simple question: Do we really have to do all of this by Oct. 1?” said MNsure Board Member Thompson Aderinkomi. “I should have asked.”
That’s stunning. This confirms my suspicion that MNsure Board members weren’t serious about administering the program. They were there because they were told to be there. Gov. Dayton didn’t pick serious people to administer the program. The DFL legislature wasn’t interested in conducting serious oversight hearings.
That’s how disasters happen.
“It was a very complex project and there was never enough time,” Dayton said. “I don’t know of anybody who wasn’t operating with good intentions and trying their utmost to make this as good as possible.”
That’s insulting. I don’t care if people were “operating with good intentions.” I’m just interested in fixing things. Gov. Dayton apparently thinks that it’s ok to screw up as long as people operate “with good intentions.” The thousands of people who received cancellation notices because their policies didn’t meet Obamacare’s standards don’t care if these people operated “with good intentions.” They just wanted a system that worked so they weren’t without health insurance.
Five state agencies were involved in the project, and they weren’t always working together. The contractors also were having trouble coordinating efforts, “putting the project at risk,” according to a December 2012 e-mail from MN-IT Chief Information Officer Tom Baden, who was overseeing the vendors’ work.
“Those items need to be addressed within a week or [Houston], we have a problem,” Baden said in his e-mail, sent to Todd-Malmlov and another state official.
E-mails and internal reports show a lack of coordination among various groups throughout 2013. Program managers openly fretted about not catching major problems quickly enough.
Gov. Dayton should be criticized for not getting the right people working urgently on fixing this crisis. Sen. Lourey and Rep. Atkins should be criticized for not being interested in making sure the building of the website was on schedule. Apparently, they thought their chief responsibility was to be MNsure’s cheerleaders, praising the work being done whether the project was a disaster or not.
In May 2013, the first outside audit was delivered, revealing MNsure was below standard on most of the 135 tasks under review. Only one category earned a passing grade — project cost. At the same time, federal officials found dozens of problems, concluding the state had “underestimated” the scope of the work.
This election season, the DFL will undoubtedly attempt to paint the picture that things couldn’t be better. They should be called out each time they try lying like that. Things aren’t rosy. The website has improved. The product is still terrible.
Saying that MNsure is an expensive failure is understatement. Here’s another example of how MNsure continues to be an expensive failure:
St. Paul- The Minnesota House of Representatives passed an ObamaCare bailout bill (HF 3172) Thursday by a vote of 70 to 59. In 2013, Governor Mark Dayton and Democrat lawmakers passed a budget that increases all-funds spending by $1,500 for every man, woman and child in Minnesota. This bill spends an additional $323 million in Fiscal Year 2014-15 and increases spending in Fiscal Year 2016-17 by nearly $1 billion. One of the largest expenditures in HF 3172 shifts money from the General Fund to fill a gap in the Health Care Access Fund that has been drained by ObamaCare in Minnesota.
That’s only part of the problem with Obamacare, aka the ACA. MNsure dramatically underperformed, despite the DFL’s attempts to characterize it as a great success. Here’s some statistical proof that it’s a failure:
Projected Enrollment in March 2013: 164,000 to 270,000
Revised Enrollment Goal in October: 69,904
Actual Enrollment: 47,046
Percentage Below March, 2013 Projection: 71% to 83% below projection
Percentage Below October, 2013 Projection: 33 percent below projection
Spending over $1,000,000,000 over the next 3 years on this bailout is immoral. That didn’t matter to the DFL, though. The DFL didn’t hesitate in foolishly spending the taxpayers’ money on this underperforming program. All that mattered to the DFL was that President Obama said that Obamacare is a rousing success. That’s all the DFL needed to hear to squander $1,000,000,000 of the taxpayers’ money.
Kurt Daudt summarized things perfectly:
“After historic increases in wasteful spending last year, Democrats proved once again they can’t stop themselves from wasting more tax dollars. This bill irresponsibly spends more than a billion dollars over the next four years and puts Minnesota at risk for future budget deficits to bailout the failed ObamaCare health law. ObamaCare has hurt Minnesotans with higher cost and fewer choices for health care, and now is hurting Minnesota’s budget,” said House Republican Leader Kurt Daudt (Crown).
Thanks to this foolish spending, Minnesota’s general fund budget spending will reach almost $39,000,000,000 for this biennium. Spending from the previous biennium was an already-too-high $34,000,000,000, an increase of almost $5,000,000,000. That’s a 12.5% increase in spending over the previous budget. Let’s remember that that budget was the biggest budget at the time.
Let’s be realistic. When the DFL was pushing HF5 down our throats, they said that 270,000 people would purchase qualified health plans through the exchange. They missed that figure by 223,000. That 47,000 figure is only 17.5% of 270,000.
Scott Leitz, Gov. Dayton and the DFL’s spinmeisters gleefully told Minnesotans that they’d exceeded their goal of 135,000 enrollments. What the DFL spinmeisters didn’t tell Minnesotans is that the vast majority of those enrollments were in the MinnesotaCare and Medicaid programs.
MNsure, aka Obamacare in Minnesota, is a failure. That’s why the DFL legislature just approved a $1,000,000,000 MNsure bailout for the next 4 years.
Successful programs don’t require $1,000,000,000 bailouts. Tell that to the DFL the next time you hear them brag about how successful MNsure is.
Stories like this prove that the DFL is built on cronyism and taxpayers’ money. Here’s a little background first:
EVELETH — Meyer Teleservices in Progress Park has closed its doors on the Iron Range, leaving 104 people unemployed.
The St. Cloud-based company also leaves behind a debt of about $250,000 to the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board, which had issued two loans totaling $650,000 to the business for its Eveleth facility.
“It was a pretty tough day (Monday),” said Gary Owen, company owner and CFO, in a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon. “I went up there and talked with the good people working for us. They are good employees with warm hearts. Some of them even said they were more concerned about me.”
Meyer Teleservices also on Monday shuttered its other Minnesota offices in St. Cloud and Little Falls.
According to Kevin Allenspach’s article, Meyer Teleservices was started in 1976 by Larry Meyer. I haven’t confirmed that the Larry Meyer mentioned in this article is former St. Cloud Mayor Larry Meyer but I’m betting it is. After all, there can’t be many St. Cloud businessmen named Larry Meyer, much less that are capable of this:
Owen bought the company from employee ownership last October and said he subsequently lost all of his retirement savings and took out two property mortgages in an effort to keep the business going. Meyer also infused the business with $380,000 last year, to no avail.
“Larry was very gracious and you can only go to the well so many times,” said Owen, who worked for Meyer Teleservices for 25 years. “We just weren’t able to turn a profit.”
Here’s where the cronyism comes in:
The equipment is collateral for the IRRRB loans, but Commissioner Tony Sertich said in a telephone interview Tuesday evening that he is right now more concerned with the workers who lost their jobs.
“We’ll sort that out in the coming weeks,” he said about the financial situation and where the agency will line up regarding the money it is owed. “It’s always hard to see job losses. This week it’s about empathizing with families who lost their jobs.”
The company was founded in St. Cloud in 1977; opened its Little Falls office in 1999; and then launched on the Range in Eveleth in 2007.
It was a company with direct ties and allegiance to the Democratic Party. After Republican President Richard Nixon’s resignation over the Watergate scandal the business created an “… innovative small donor fundraising program called the Dollars for Democrats program,” according to the Meyer Teleservices website.
The IRRRB gets tons of cash in taxpayer appropriations each biennium. Here’s the IRRRB’s alleged mission:
Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) is a State of Minnesota development agency located in Eveleth, Minnesota. IRRRB’s mission is to promote and invest in business, community and workforce development for the betterment of northeastern Minnesota.
IRRRB provides vital funding, including low or no interest loans, grants and loan guarantees for businesses relocating or expanding in the region. Additionally, a variety of grants are available to local units of government, education institutions, and nonprofits that promote workforce development and sustainable communities.
How does lending money to a DFL phone bank “promote workforce development and sustainable communities”? How does lending money to a DFL fundraising operation provide for “the betterment of northeastern Minnesota”? How many other DfL operations has the IRRRB loaned to other companies? How many pro-DFL operations have received “a variety of grants” available to “education institutions and nonprofits”?
The loan to Meyer Teleservices was approved in 2007, which means that David Dill and Tom Bakk almost certainly voted to approve this ‘loan.’ Aside from the cronyism, it’s worth noting that the IRRRB ‘invested’ taxpayer money in an outdated system that was designed to benefit the DFL. It’s also worth noting that this venture in pro-DFL cronyism lost the taxpayers money before going bankrupt.
Is this the type of Minnesota you want to live in? Are these the type of people we want running state government? I’d passionately argue that Mssrs. Sertich, Bakk and Dill are the last people who should have their hands on the levers of state and local government.
This is a taxpayer rip-off that specifically benefited the DFL. That type of cronyism/corruption must end ASAP.
Last night, John Gilmore made a feeble attempt to defend Sen. Ortman’s indefensible position of not favoring full repeal of Obamacare. Here’s the text of Gilmore’s tweet:
Julianne Ortman very strong on full repeal of Obamacare. Gary Gross hardest hit.
If Mr. Gilmore wants to destroy his credility, that’s his right. It isn’t his right, though, to make things up. When I wrote this post, I included this direct quote from Sen. Ortman:
“I’m not a full repeal person. I think the House of Representatives has voted 40 times to repeal it. The Senate is not going to repeal it. So if plan A is ‘Let’s do a repeal,’ we better start talking about Plan B. Because plan A got nowhere,” she said. Ortman said she would like to see Congress go “piece-by-piece through that new law and figure out what works and what doesn’t.”
If Gilmore insists that that’s what being “very strong on full repeal of Obamacare” sounds like, it’s his right to make a fool of himself. I’ll just continue providing verifiable proof that Sen. Ortman isn’t “strong on the full repeal of Obamacare.” For instance, I’ll include videos like this:
Sen. Ortman can tapdance on this issue from now until the State Convention but it won’t change the fact that she’s doing a fine impersonation of John Kerry. Remember Kerry’s “I actually voted for it before I voted against it” moment? Here’s a refresher on that infamous moment:
Apparently, Sen. Ortman is for full repeal of Obamacare now that she paid a political price for opposing full repeal of Obamacare.
Mr. Gilmore can take cheapshots at me if he likes. My skin is thick enough to withstand his petty little shots. If Gilmore wants to argue against that video, that’s fine. It’s just that he’s fighting against verified truth. That isn’t the way to increase one’s credibility.
At the end of the day, State Convention delegates need to decide whether they’re comfortable endorsing someone who shifts positions on the biggest issues of the campaign, who proposed raising taxes and voted for a cap and trade system. If they’re looking to endorse a candidate who won’t fight for replacing the worst bill in U.S. history, then Sen. Ortman is a perfect fit for them.
If they’re looking for a principled conservative with lots of private sector experience, then Mike McFadden is their only choice.
Sen. Ortman is a flawed candidate. There isn’t any doubt that Sen. Franken will use Ms. Ortman’s statements about Obamacare against her in his ad campaigns and in their debates. Likewise, there’s no question that Sen. Franken will use Sen. Ortman’s flip-flops against her in his ads and in the debates.
That’s just the harsh reality of politics. At the end of the day, Republicans can’t support a candidate who’s vulnerable to attacks of flip-flopping and who can’t raise the money it’ll take to defeat a well-funded incumbent.
With MNsure being a disaster, the DFL knows that it can’t keep the House by telling the truth. That’s why they’re resorting to spin like this:
MNsure officials were upbeat and continued to highlight that the exchange had far surpassed its overall forecast of 135,000 enrollments through the marketplace for the past six months.
“It is absolutely a success. We met our goal. The numbers we announce today we anticipate will go up,” Leitz said at a Tuesday press conference. “I am absolutely telling you this is a big step forward.”
Just because MNsure set a goal of 135,000 enrollments doesn’t mean that’s what Democrats promised when they passed HF5:
If you look at pg. 7 of HF5?s fiscal note, you’ll find that the medium projections 217,000 enrollments while the high end projection is for 270,000 enrollments. The lowest projection called for 164,000 enrollments in qualified health plans.
The fiscal note for HF5 called for 270,000 people purchasing qualified health plans, aka QHPs. Comparing that figure with this figure, it’s easy to detect the DFL’s lies:
Of the enrollments MNsure reported, 47,000 purchased private plans.
In other words, MNsure fell short by a mere 225,000 QHPs purchased. That’s being off by 82.5%. That isn’t quite as pathetic of an estimate as Gov. Dayton was off on the e-tab revenues but it’s pathetic nonetheless.
MNsure’s expectations were set by the fiscal note. They aren’t set by MNsure. Letting MNsure set its own goals is like letting a witness determine whether the witness committed perjury. There’s a reason why an impartial judge makes that ruling.
Further, Mr. Leitz isn’t exactly a trustworthy person:
Scott Leitz, the interim CEO for MNsure, acknowledged Friday that he is facing a charge of drunken driving stemming from an arrest in Minneapolis in August.
Leitz, 47, of St. Paul, was arrested shortly after 2 a.m. on Aug. 17 near S. Sixth Street and Portland Avenue S. on suspicion of speeding and careless driving, according to Lt. Eric Roeske, a State Patrol spokesman. Leitz’s breath test indicated a blood alcohol level of 0.18 percent, more than double the legal intoxication limit in Minnesota.
I wish Mr. Leitz the best of luck in dealing with this issue. There’s still room for compassion when a person makes a mistake like this. That said, forgiveness and trust aren’t the same thing. Having more than twice the blood-alcohol level isn’t the type of thing that inspires trust.
Even if the figures are accurate, that doesn’t mean MNsure is a success. Before I’d consider it a success, I’d want to know if the people who got kicked off of policies they liked like their new policy better. Most people were content with their policies so there’s no reason to think they’re happier now. Further, I’d want to know if the people who got kicked off their plans are paying less than they did before. Most aren’t. I’d want to know if the people who got kicked off their previous plans got to keep their doctors and whether they can still go to the same hospitals. I’m betting they can’t.
Finally, I’d insist on finding out whether their networks had shrunk. If their networks had shrunk, how much farther do these families have to travel to get care?
The DFL knows that MNsure is a failure because most people are paying more while getting less. Their deductibles are higher while their rural networks are smaller. That isn’t the definition of success. That’s the definition of failure.
I wrote this post to highlight with statistics just how badly MNsure, aka Obamacare in Minnesota, is failing. Here are some of the things I highlighted in that post:
For individuals, MNsure has an open enrollment goal of 69,904 but so far only has 35,610. For small businesses, MNsure wants 8,925 people signed up by March 31 but right now only has 790 people enrolled.
These aren’t my statistics. They’re statistics included in KSTP’s article on MNsure. KSTP got their numbers from MNsure itself. It’s worth noting that the 69,904 figure is trimmed way down from the legislature’s initial projection, which I wrote about in this article:
According to [the fistcal note for HF5], their low-end enrollment in QHPs was supposed to hit 164,000, their mid-range enrollment in QHPs was supposed to hit 217,000 and their high-end enrollment in QHPs was supposed to hit 270,000.
Based on those projections, MNsure is only 13% of the way to hitting the high-end projection, 16.4% of the way to hitting the mid-range projection and only 21.7% of the way to hitting the lowest projection.
This graphic from the Minnesota Jobs Coalition ties the tale together nicely:
A few minutes ago, the Strib published this article with this headline:
MNsure call center bogs down as midnight deadline looms for enrolling in health coverage
Here’s the text of the article:
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The call center for Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace is reaching capacity and some callers aren’t getting through to agents as the midnight open enrollment deadline approaches.
MNsure officials say the call center logged more than 9,600 calls by noon Monday. MNsure says that’s putting a strain on the phone system. The average wait time as of about 1 p.m. was 18 minutes, and the time on hold is expected to increase throughout the day.
Exchange officials say people who can’t get through or have difficulty enrolling online should fill out an enrollment attempt form on MNsure’s home page. MNsure will contact them later to complete the enrollment process.
Those who miss the deadline but make a good-faith effort to enroll will get more time and escape a financial penalty.
There’s one inescapable truth to these statistics. People have stayed away from the policies offered through MNsure because the policies suck. If MNsure was selling appealing policies from the start, we would’ve read stories months ago that complained about how MNsure didn’t have enough servers to handle the volume of people signing up in huge numbers.
Those articles didn’t happen because people found out that the policies offered through MNsure were expensive, had high deductibles or were totally unaffordable.
That’s what failure looks like.