Archive for the ‘Mark Dayton’ Category
Last night, I received an email from Jim Kroger, an assistant professor in the Accounting & Business Law department at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Dr. Kroger had studied the campaign finance reports of the GOP gubernatorial candidates.
This post shouldn’t be interpreted as me expressing my preference for who runs against Gov. Dayton. This post is simply about Dr. Kroger’s studies.
Dr. Kroger’s spreadsheet, which doesn’t translate well into WordPress formatting, gives us some basic information. Specifically, it highlights the fundraising per week and the burn rate per week for each of the candidates. At this point, Marty Seifert has raised an average of $26,029 per week while spending $1,842 per week since entering the race in late November. By contrast, Scott Honour has raised an average of $14,142 per week while spending $14,132 per average week.
Kurt Zellers is raising $13,392 per week while spending $9,894 per week. He’s followed by Jeff Johnson, who is raising an average of $7,041 per week while spending an average of $2,091 per week, followed by Dave Thompson, who has raised an average of $4,559 per week while spending $2,673 per week.
Here are some of Dr. Kroger’s observations:
- Seifert’s average weekly individual cash contributions of $26,029 exceed Dayton’s average weekly individual cash contributions of $15,327 by $10,702. Presently, in Republican circles, one of the issues that is discussed is which candidate can raise enough money to be competitive against Dayton. Based on this analysis, which seeks to measure each candidate equally based on when they announced for governor, Seifert is by far the strongest fundraiser outperforming Honour by a margin of nearly 2 to 1.
- The average amount of cash burned per week by Zellers exceeds the average amount of cash burned per week by Dayton by 143%. The average amount of cash burned per week by Honour exceeds the average amount of cash burned per week by Dayton by 204% (more than double). In Republican circles it is often said that no candidate will be able to fundraise and spend more than Dayton. Based on how fast Zellers and Honour are blowing their cash and what they are burning it on, I would argue that both of their campaigns are wasteful and simply unsustainable on a long-term basis.
- Thompson ended the year with $50,283 cash on hand, but he also has unpaid bills of $28,235. This means that he essentially ended the year with approximately $20,000 cash on hand, which is the lowest next to Farnsworth. Given his monthly expenses, I would argue that Thompson’s campaign is either dead in the water or running on fumes. I suspect that his announcement of a running mate was the last gasp as he attempts to gain momentum and save what appears to be a sinking ship.
- Zellers has $44,300 or 11% of his total receipts coming from out-of-state; however, I discovered what may be a red flag issue. Zellers received $21,000 from 38 individuals in 8 states (Missouri, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois, Washington, DC, New Jersey, and Florida) and ALL 38 contributors listed Express Scripts, a mail-order pharmacy, as their employer. This raised a red flag in my mind. Is Express Scripts funneling money to Zellers through these individuals? What ties does Zellers have to Express Scripts? What will Express Scripts expect if he is elected? Is Express Scripts trying to skirt lobbyist regulations? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but it presents an interesting puzzle.
- Honour has $295,847 or 48-58% of his total receipts coming from out-of-state. It is 48% if you include his $101,000 loan to himself in total receipts and 58% if you exclude it. 189 of 368 total contributions to Honour’s campaign are from people outside of Minnesota and, in some cases, outside the United States (Singapore and London). 51% of all individuals contributing to Honour’s campaign are not Minnesotans. I counted 13 contributions from Beverly Hills, CA, 29 from Los Angeles, CA, and 16 from New York City. It appears that bankers, lawyers, and even an actress are the ones who think Honour would make a good governor. If you disregard the $295,847 that came from outside of Minnesota and the $101,000 loan that he gave himself then he only raised $217,919 from Minnesotans, which is less than both Johnson and Zellers. Further, the deep pockets that he tapped from outside of Minnesota often gave $4,000 so they cannot contribute again. I would argue both that Honour is not supported by the people of Minnesota and that his campaign is likely not sustainable due to fundraising concerns and wasteful spending. Having exhausted his out-of-state deep pockets and squandered the money, he must now look to the people of Minnesota or himself to fund his campaign. He ended the year with $14,251 on hand. I would argue that Honour’s campaign is more akin to the campaign of Farnsworth or Thompson and that Honour is nearly dead in the water or running on fumes.
Whether Dr. Kroger’s opinions hold up is subject to the test of time. Another thing that’ll require additional scrutiny is whether Marty Seifert can continue at his current fundraising pace. If he can, then he’ll be a formidable opponent for Gov. Dayton. Jeff Johnson’s figures aren’t gaudy but his burn rate is under control. That will matter over the course of a long campaign.
Each of these candidates would be a significant improvement over Gov. Dayton. It’s difficult to have faith in a politician who doesn’t know what’s in the bills he’s signed and negotiated.
Finally, tonight is precinct caucus night in Minnesota. If you want to shape this election, there’s no better place to be tonight than at your local precinct caucus. If you’ve never attended a precinct caucus, you’ll want to attend. It’s the best place to let your voice be heard. If you don’t know where your precinct caucus is being held, follow this link, then enter your zip code. It’s just that simple.
This article highlights a clash between Rep. Kurt Daudt and Rep. Paul Thissen. It doesn’t sound like much of a difference but it’s significant:
Thissen, a Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party member from Minneapolis, said “there’s clearly been problems, significant problems, in the implementation of it” but that the bugs are getting worked out and the system will provide coverage for thousands who hadn’t previously had it.
When Thissen started criticizing proposed GOP alternatives, Daudt, a Republican from Crown, jumped in, saying Minnesotans don’t want a “blame game.”
“The whole philosophy behind this is flawed,” Daudt said of MNsure. Under the state’s old system, he said, about 93 percent of people had coverage. “We scrapped the system that was a leader in the country,” Daudt said, to go to one that’s “riddled with problems.”
But that 7 percent who couldn’t get coverage under the old system represents about half a million people that the state has a moral obligation to help, Thissen said. Until Daudt has a solution for that group, “you ought to stop pointing fingers,” he said.
When he was a member of one of the committees with jurisdiction on the HHS omnibus bill, Steve Gottwalt pointed out that 93% of Minnesotans had health insurance and that half of those that didn’t have health insurance were eligible for a government-offered health insurance. That means approximately 96.5% of Minnesotans were eligible for government-offered insurance or had health insurance.
That’s before questioning whether the other 3.5% of Minnesotans wanted insurance. It’s possible that a significant portion of those people didn’t want health insurance.
That’s significant because it minimizes Speaker Thissen’s argument that Minnesota “has a moral obligation” to help these people. First, why would Minnesota have an obligation to help people who might not want help? The simple answer is that they don’t. Second, let’s get rid of Speaker Thissen’s fuzzy math. If the number of uninsured who can’t get insured is actually 2%, not 5%, then Thissen’s figure of “half a million people” is reduced to approximately 108,000 people.
Finally, Thissen saying that Republicans should stop their criticism until they have a plan is intellectually dishonest. Republicans have a plan. The DFL just doesn’t like it. Rather than the DFL saying what they like or don’t like about the GOP plan, the DFL pretends that Republicans don’t have a plan.
The DFL created a health insurance exchange. Unfortunately, their plan, not just the HIX, stinks. The policies offered through MNsure are the cheapest in the nation. Unfortunately, these policies’ premiums are more expensive than before the Anything But Affordable Care Act. That’s before talking about his significantly higher deductibles, which means higher out-of-pocket expenses for families.
That means I’m still waiting for the DFL to offer legislation that provides real health insurance reform.
If it’s Sunday morning, rest assured I’m taping At Issue. This week, DFL Party Chair Ken Martin was asked about the DFL filing a complaint with the Campaign Finance Disclosure Board. The DFL filed this nuisance complaint in an attempt to deflect complaints about 13 DFL senators willfully breaking campaign finance laws by coordinating their ad campaigns with outside groups.
Allegedly, the GOP spent some money but didn’t report spending the money in the right place on the report. At best, the GOP might’ve committed a minor infraction. What the DFL did was painfully illegal:
On Tuesday the Board levied the fine against the DFL after it was discovered that 13 DFL candidates coordinated their campaigns illegally, since properly reclassifying the expenditures means that the candidates illegally exceeded their campaign contribution and/or spending limits. A total of over $300,000 in illegal contributions were not reported by the campaigns.. The board also plans to fine each individual campaign directly, according to a press release from the Minnesota Republican Party.
These 13 DFL senators broke one of the most straightforward campaign finance laws on the books. I knew that candidates couldn’t coordinate their advertising campaigns with special interests’ ad campaigns. That law’s been on the books since the Nixon/Watergate era.
Putting this most succinctly, these DFL senate candidates wanted to win their races so badly that they didn’t hesitate in breaking Minnesota’s campaign finance laws. It isn’t a stretch to think that Alida Messinger would’ve been willing to write the check for the fines in exchange for a DFL-controlled state government.
DFL lawmakers disagreed with the board’s ruling said that they are glad to put the matter to rest.
“Ultimately, it is best to set this distraction aside and allow our members to focus on governing,” DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said.
It’s infuriating to hear Martin dismiss breaking one of Minnesota’s biggest campaign finance laws by essentially calling it a “distraction.” Then again, it shouldn’t surprise people, especially considering the fact that Martin played a major role in the biggest smear campaigns in Minnesota gubernatorial history. Let’s remember that Martin was an official with the Alliance for a Better Minnesota:
Martin is currently the director of “Win Minnesota“. If you read this blog, you know who they are: they are a PAC that launders the Dayton family’s political contributions to “Alliance For A Better Minnesota” and the “2010 Fund” and the other arms of the Dayton Campaign’s tightly-wound little money-laundering and distribution machine.
ABM was criticized by local reporters and national organizations for their lies. Martin was part of that. Now he’s running the DFL, where he’s dismissing outright cheating as a distraction.
Finally, Martin’s statement that we shouldn’t be ‘distracted’ by their cheating because they’ve got to govern is silly. Thus far, the DFL’s governance has been a disaster. Their tax increases hurt the middle class more than they hurt “the rich.” Their implementation of MNsure has been a total disaster. Gov. Dayton has made statements that question whether he knows what’s happening within his administration.
It’s time for Minnesota to head in a different direction.
If people don’t take their blood pressure medication before reading this article, it isn’t because I didn’t warn them.
ALERT: Don’t read this article if you have high blood pressure.
Here’s what I’m talking about:
Fourteen MNsure managers were paid bonuses totalling more than $26,000 in November as Minnesota launched its troubled online health insurance exchange, state officials said Wednesday.
If you think that’s why I’m upset, you’re partially right. This part has me furious:
Matt Swenson, a spokesman for the governor, said Dayton’s office was not involved in or aware of the bonuses. Swenson said that by law, MNsure operates independently of the governor and has its own board and executive director.
In other words, Gov. Dayton is insisting that he didn’t have a clue what was happening in his executive branch. It’s getting tiresome. First, Gov. Dayton played the Sgt. Schultz Card when he ‘found out’ that PSLs, aka money-making devices for the Wilfs, were in the stadium deal he personally negotiated.
The next time he played the Sgt. Schultz Card was right before FarmFest, when he expressed surprise that Minnesota’s sales tax was in the Tax Bill that he negotiated.
The third time Gov. Dayton played the Sgt. Schultz Card, it was when he expressed surprise when he found out that the contracts with the MNsure contractors had been changed.
This time, he’s surprised because people who’d failed with their mission received bonuses.
What’s striking is that Gov. Dayton’s Sgt. Schultz moments are coming more rapidly. It took almost 2 years before his first incident. It took only 6 months (roughly) for his second bout with Sgt. Schultz Syndrome. It was just 4 months from the FarmFest bout with Sgt. Schultz Syndrome until he played the Sgt. Schultz Card on the MNsure contracts. It took less than a month for him to be utterly clueless about the bonuses.
The first question I have is whether Gov. Dayton has a clue as to what’s happening in his administration. It certainly doesn’t appear that he does. The next question is, if he doesn’t know what’s happening, who’s running the government? I certainly didn’t vote for Bob Hume or Tina Smith to run the state government.
I wrote here that the St. Cloud Times had published my LTE about MNsure’s failings. Predictably, one of the lefty trolls that inhabit the Times’ message board tried taking me to task for what I’d written:
“We can definitely do better than that.”
How’s that for a typical Conservative/Tbagger response? Not a suggestion on how to do it differently – just that it should be done differently. How easy is it to whine and complain? I hope he didn’t strain himself with the thought that went into this.
What a surprise. I thought someone might give a suggestion about what could be done to make it better, but NO! They don’t know how to make it better they just know they deserve more and better. Yeah, sure.
I decided not to respond to this troll’s comments because I didn’t want to deal with her in that setting. That being said, there’s something worth learning from this troll’s snide comments.
Implicit in this troll’s comments is that I have an affirmative responsibility to fix the DFL-created mess. Conservatives should ignore that argument. If they aren’t legislators, they don’t have a responsibility for fixing the DFL’s messes. It’s more than that, though.
While it’s true that it likely was impossible to make MNsure work, it’s also true that Gov. Dayton’s total indifference to MNsure is something that activists and legislators can’t fix this session. We can fix it through next November’s election but that’s a different story.
In the LTE, I highlighted the fact that the DFL co-chairs of the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee didn’t hold oversight hearings for almost 4 months. I noted that this was while MNsure was going through a series of crises and while April Todd-Malmlov was taking a 2-week Costa Rican vacation with her lover.
Again, what legislation will fix partisan apathy towards a crisis? Rep. Atkins and Sen. Lourey alone have the authority to call hearings of that oversight committee. The ranking member can call for hearings but that legislator doesn’t have the authority to gavel in an oversight committee hearing.
Again, the remedy is defeating a bunch of DFL legislators next November so that a Republican legislator is picked by the incoming speaker to co-chair the committee.
As for the rest of this troll’s snotty remarks, I won’t respond substantively to them because they aren’t substantive comments. I’d recommend that approach whenever a DFL activist tries getting into a pissing match. That’s what ABM, TakeAction Minnesota, AFSCME and other DFL special interest groups specialize in.
That’s their specialty because they’re incapable of making substantive arguments. The reality is that ABM’s entire arsenal consists of smearing people and making non sequitur arguments.
When it comes to social media, the best response is to not directly respond to the trolls. Instead, it’s better to start your own, substantive argument on MNsure. Highlight the fact that there aren’t any legislative fixes for gubernatorial incompetence. Highlight the fact that there isn’t a legislative fix when the co-chairs of an oversight committee aren’t interested in finding out why the exchange is careening from crisis to crisis without a project manager in place.
It’s time to make the DFL explain why they weren’t interested in correcting MNsure’s overabundance of major mistakes. They created it. They broke it. They ignored it. It’s their responsibility to fix it.
Unfortunately, Minnesota families are hurting thanks to the DFL’s initiatives.
Earlier today, I wrote this post about whether unions deserve most of the credit for building America’s middle class. Apparently, the DFL is feeling more than a little defensive about what I wrote. It’s apparent because Paul Thissen, the Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives, responded with 3 defensive-sounding tweets to my post. Here’s Speaker Thissen’s first tweet:
Do innovative cos take advantage of govt basic rsch? Do business & employees benefit from a broadly educated populace?
Here’s Speaker Thissen’s second tweet:
do workers get to jobs and companies move product without public roads? Do middle class economies exist without clean water?
Here’s Speaker Thissen’s final tweet:
your black & white, either/or world view may serve you rhetorically but no one in real world operates by it.
First, let me address the subject of whether “workers get to jobs and companies move products without public roads.” They do in Indiana. While government funds the building of highways through gas taxes in Minnesota, it’s indisputable that that’s an archaic way of funding highway maintenance. Indiana, not Minnesota, is the future of highway funding. PS- Privatization works in improving highways. Indiana’s proof of that.
Next, Speaker Thissen apparently thinks, like many leftists, that Republicans oppose all forms of government. That’s silliness. They’ve read too many of ABM’s smear campaign messages for their own good. (Then again, the DFL are puppets. ABM is their puppeteer.) Minnesota’s Constitution requires funding of public schools so there’s no question about whether taxpayers will fund government schools.
Third, isn’t it possible that Speaker Thissen is living in an either/or, black or white world? Based upon his past actions, there’s no question that Speaker Thissen thinks that the nanny state isn’t intrusive enough. He’s voted for higher taxes on the richest of the rich. He’s voted for middle class tax increases, too, as recently as last May. Those are indisputable facts. He’s voted for legislation that would prohibit people from owning certain types of dogs in Minnesota.
It isn’t that Republicans hate government. It’s that we’ve seen government expand into areas that government shouldn’t intrude into. We’ve seen the DFL elitists in the Twin Cities tell people in northern Minnesota that they don’t have the right to make a living even if they live by Minnesota’s environmental regulations. Yes, that’s what Conservation Minnesota is pushing. Here in central Minnesota, another of the DFL’s environmentalist allies, the Sierra Club, is pushing for shutting down of the Sherco power plants.
There’s no question whether Speaker Thissen will defend these special interest organizations. There’s no question because he’s defended them in the past. Considering his ambitition to succeed Gov. Dayton as governor, and his need for substantial campaign contributions from environmentalists, there’s no question Speaker Thissen will continue defending these black or white organizations.
Finally, let’s cover Speaker Thissen’s question about whether middle class economies exist without clean water. Not that we’d want this but yes, middle class economies have existed without clean water. Ohio’s and Pennsylvania’s middle class thrived with some of the nastiest water in the nation.
Like I said, however, that shouldn’t be the goal we shoot towards. The linkage between clean water and robust job creation is questionable at best. There’s no disputing whether those things can co-exist. They’re co-existing right now. What’s equally indisputable is that the DFL’s special interest allies love moving the goalposts on industries, especially the mining industry, by increasing the regulatory restrictions on Minnesota’s biggest industries.
Last year, Speaker Thissen didn’t hesitate in pushing a bill that limits silica sand mining even though it would kill Minnesota jobs. Here’s what Rep. Pat Garofalo said about the bill:
You’re gonna actually tax an industry out of existence with a tax on silica mining. I actually had a liberal activist say to me they thought that by raising taxes on silica mining, they would somehow impact the fracking in North Dakota. (Laughter in background) Spoiler alert. They’re gonna get the sand from other states. Doesn’t matter. It’s gonna have no impact whatsoever on other states’ ability to do fracking of natural gas and oil but it will kill jobs here. And it’s not business groups saying that. It’s not small businesses saying it.
We’ve heard from the local 49ers. We’ve heard from the local unions. In fact, members, this is how totally delusional this tax increase is: Mark Dayton actually labeled the House DFL silica sand tax “ridiculous.” So when a tax increase is so high that Gov. Dayton labels it ridiculous, you know you’re checked out for lunch.
Speaker Thissen, the question isn’t whether government will exist. The question is whether the DFL will continue to insist on limiting Minnesota’s economic growth through their abuse of Minnesota’s regulatory system. At this point, there’s little disputing whether the DFL will tell the environmentalists no every once in awhile. They won’t.
The only question is whether Minnesotans will reject the DFL’s vision of ever more intrusive government. Let’s hope they answer that question with an emphatic yes this November.
Technorati: Paul Thissen, Special Interests, Conservation Minnesota, Environmental Extremists, Environmental Regulations, Nanny State, DFL, Metrocrats, Transportation, K-12 Education, Public Safety, Limited Government
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger caught Gov. Dayton lying about the ‘pro bono’ work David Lillehaug did during the Dayton/DFL shutdown of 2011:
When Gov. Mark Dayton contracted with prominent attorney David Lillehaug in 2011 to handle the legal issues arising out of the state government shutdown, the governor’s office said Lillehaug’s work would be pro bono. The news release announcing the contract defined pro bono as “without cost to the state.”
But after that July shutdown ended, the governor agreed to change the contract with Lillehaug.
“In August 2011, the Governor signed an amendment that changed the engagement from pro bono to billable services,” a report from the state’s Legislative Auditor said on Thursday. “The office paid the firm about $77,000 for those services.”
Bob Hume explained the change this way:
Dayton’s communications director Bob Hume on Thursday said the arrangement with Lillehaug went from pro bono to paid after Lillehaug’s role dramatically changed as the shutdown wore on.
“At the time we had every expectation that our legal services would be provided by the Attorney General. When we learned that she was going to take a position on her own initiative, which she had a valid right to do, we had to make other arrangements for representation,” Hume said.
The first question that isn’t answered is why Gov. Dayton didn’t talk with Lori Swanson to see what her position would be on the shutdown. Because Gov. Dayton didn’t do his research, which seems to happen frequently, he issued a statement that was quietly changed.
The truth is that Gov. Dayton has repeatedly shown himself to be the picture of incompetence and incomplete information. Why didn’t he inquire about Lori Swanson’s position? It’s shameful that he’s that clueless about something that important.
Another question that I have is why Lillehaug’s firm had to be brought in if it wasn’t a substantial role. What additional responsibilities did Mr. Lillehaug take on as the shutdown continued? Has Gov. Dayton’s administration given the legislature a copy of the bill submitted by Mr. Lillehaug? If not, why not?
People shouldn’t just take Gov. Dayton’s word that everything’s on the up-and-up. Gov. Dayton didn’t check to see whether it was legal to bring a campaign operative onto the plane he uses for his official travels.
Technorati: Mark Dayton, David Lillehaug, Government Shutdown, Lori Swanson, DFL
I wrote here that MNsure’s difficulties are an indictment of Gov. Dayton, the MNsure board of directors and the DFL co-chairs of the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee. Here’s an explanation of why each of these people should be fired for gross mismanagement:
Gov. Dayton, in addition to lobbying for the creation of MNsure, appointed the members of the MNsure board of directors. Apparently, he didn’t think it was necessary to put anyone with management experience on the board. It’s apparent because, according to Optum’s report, “no one was in charge of the project to find out what was wrong and fix it.” The report also said that management operated in “crisis mode.”
That’s what happens when a sensible management structure isn’t implemented first.
There isn’t proof that Gov. Dayton paid attention to MNsure after he signed the bill into law. If he paid attention, that’s cause for being really afraid because he didn’t recognize the problems during development. That means Gov. Dayton was either apathetic or incompetent. Neither outcome is flattering to Gov. Dayton’s leadership image.
For his incredible display of indifference to this project, Gov. Dayton deserves getting fired this November. Minnesotans simply can’t afford to have someone this incompetent handling the levers of power.
The next count of the indictment is against the MNsure board of directors. They’re the people who didn’t put the management structure together. As a result, the MNsure website is a failure. More importantly, the MNsure office is a picture of utter incompetence.
That’s resulted in hundreds of millions of the taxpayers’ dollars getting wasted on a) a disfunctional website and b) an incompetent management team. The Optum report, which I’m calling the Optum Indictment, estimates that between $150,000,000 and $160,000,000 have been spent thus far with at least another $50,000,000 to be spent on fixing things.
Management 101 requires management to establish a chain of accountability within the organization to ensure the project is completed successfully, on time and under budget. The MNsure board of directors essentially gave the project team a bunch of money, then told them to get to work.
That isn’t managing a project. That’s the equivalent of giving people a project, then taking a 2-week vacation to Costa Rica. Thank God that didn’t happen.
Finally, the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee should be indicted, then convicted, for not giving a damn about the website or the office. Republicans on the commitee raised lots of issues. The committee’s co-chairs weren’t interested in accountability. They held a contentious meeting on Sept. 24, 2013, then didn’t call another hearing until January, months after reports surfaced talking about data security and systemic management failures.
The DFL has shown that they aren’t serious about accountability or competence. They’ve shown that they’re just interested in spending the taxpayers’ money foolishly.
That’s why the DFL legislature must be fired this November. Their apathy, indifference and incompetence is frightening.
MNsure has been a disaster for months but, if this article is right, its worst days are still ahead. First, a little background is required. Optum, a software company, was hired by the MNsure Board of Directors to conduct a study on the state of the MNsure exchange. It’s within that context that they made this statement:
“In its current state, the existing MNsure system will not support enrollment expectations,” the Optum report stated.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg:
Starting next year, MNsure must fund its operations by withholding up to 3.5 percent of the value of premiums for commercial policies sold on the exchange. The current pace of enrollment is falling below targets, which means the health exchange could face a budget deficit starting next year.
That’s adding insult to injury. The MNsure policies are expensive, with most people getting forced into policies with expensive deductibles and higher premiums. Next, they’re getting into policies that include coverages that they don’t need or want but that a government ‘expert’ says is required. Finally, some families get disjointed coverage rather than being able to buy a single policy for the entire family.
Unfortunately, the MNsure disaster doesn’t end there:
The report recommended a new program management structure for MNsure because the current structure and process is “nonexistent.” It added: “Management/leadership/decision making is occurring via crisis mode.”
Optum’s report supports Jim Nobles’ observation:
Nobles also said he would look into the effects of the May contract amendments. “It’s certainly something that I will pursue very vigorously to find out what triggered that decision,” Nobles said when the amendment was brought to his attention. “What exactly did it mean? Who exactly was…doing the project management?”
This isn’t surprising. Incompetence has been MNsure’s hallmark since it was implemented. Here’s Ed Morrissey’s commentary on the sad state of affairs with MNsure’s call center:
People can call into MNSure to get assistance in sign-ups, but that’s also a problem. Wait times are averaging 50 minutes in the call center, which is another area in which management is non-existent. The independent panel recommends hiring another 100 operators, but that will take time, plenty of training, and one hopes no small amount of background investigation before allowing access to that kind of private identity data. Speaking as someone who ran specialized call centers for 15 years in the context of highly-sensitive data, I can attest that there is no way to get that many operators up to speed in that short of a time frame, even if you could hire them all today.
As predicted, MNSure is crashing and burning as we speak. Insurers here expecting a windfall of healthy, young enrollees are going to rethink next year’s premium schedules — and Minnesotans will get the bill just as we go to the voting booth in the midterms.
Addendum: Even when I briefly ran a health-sector call center in the mid-90s, where wait times weren’t a big focus of customer service, a 50-minute average would probably have gotten me fired.
This afternoon, DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin accused Republicans of not helping fix MNsure. What Martin isn’t admitting is that MNsure isn’t fixable. I don’t doubt that they’ll probably get the website running. That isn’t the only problem with MNsure. The policies are expensive, the deductibles are sky-high and the management team is incompetent.
Other than those things, the other problems MNsure has are relatively minor.
There’s no escaping the fact that MNsure is a disaster because the Anything But Affordable Care Act is a disaster. Here’s another important part of Optum’s report:
Their first two options take different approaches to reworking the website over the next two years. The third and more dramatic suggestion put forth Wednesday would have the state create new software architecture for the MNsure website.
In other words, admit that the thing is a total failure and start from scratch. I’d love hearing Chairman Martin explain how you fix a total disaster. If Chairman Martin thinks MNsure isn’t a total disaster, he should watch Pat Kessler’s report on its failures:
Chairman Martin, let’s hear your explanation for fixing MNsure after watching that. Optum itself says it might be better to just scrap the existing system and start from scratch.
This LTE is exceptionally defensive sounding:
Some people are making a big deal out of a story about the executive committee of a local DFL party unit coming out against copper-nickel mining jobs and, therefore, workers in Northeastern Minnesota. Some even wonder whether and when the DFL decided to drop the “L” from its coalition (“DFL unit’s resolution opposes copper mining,” Jan. 14).
The resolution was the action of a small minority of extreme folks who apparently don’t believe in the regulatory process that Minnesotans worked together to develop over decades. This was not a reflection of the larger feelings of DFLers across the state or even in the Northland.
I can assure you, as a labor leader in Northeastern Minnesota, that the “L” is alive and well in the DFL and that the party will stand strong for good-paying jobs and working people across our region and state. We hope.
People aren’t questioning that private sector unions support mining. That isn’t the point. In fact, it’s a non sequitur argument. The point the article made, which I wrote about here, is that elitist Twin Cities Metrocrats vehemently oppose mining. That part of the DFL isn’t a tiny minority. They’re the part of the DFL that writes the biggest campaign checks. That’s why they get the preferential treatment from the DFL. Tom Rukavina represented the miners, which he told me in this email exchange. Here’s Rep. Rukavina’s response:
I’m perplexed. I sent an email to the three who voted no, I’m awaiting a reply. Frankly, if Gov Dayton is pissed off at the DNR (hell, Rangers have been pissed off at them forever), he should fire some top dogs over there. But don’t take it out on the good people of the Range who have been mining for 130 years and playing by the rules that some folks now want to change.
Perplexed and pissed off would better describe my reaction. But hey, I’m a has been but I have been wondering why I’m the only member of the Range delegation who seems concerned about this. Perhaps it’s because I’m the only member of the Range delegation who represents the real Iron Range and has never represented any other constituents in my 26 year tenure.
Rep. Rukavina is an old school Iron Ranger. While Metrocrats agreed with his tax and spending policies, they worked tirelessly to undermine his mining policies.
As long as the Metrocrats dominate the DFL, Mr. Olson can talk all he wants about the DFL still supporting Labor’s issues. Their claims will ring hollow in the ears of the unemployed miners.