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It’s bad enough that AFSCME is intent on forcing a unionization vote down child care providers’ throats. What’s worse is that the person overseeing the election is owned by AFSCME:

Governor Dayton appointed Josh Tilsen to be commissioner of the Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) in Feburary 2011. As BMS commissioner, Tilsen administers union elections, resolves collective bargaining disputes, and oversees labor mediation and arbitration activities. He is paid more than $95,000 per year by the State of Minnesota for this full-time role.

In addition to Tilsen’s full-time work as BMS commissioner, he also maintains an outside consulting business, acting as an arbitrator for the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board (PERB). According to the official Iowa PERB website (updated March 25, 2013), Tilsen’s per diem is $1,200. Notably, the office phone and fax number they list are Tilsen’s official BMS numbers in Minnesota. In addition, under “Current Employment/Associations that could cause a conflict,” it lists “None.”

That’s just part of it. There’s more:

Tilsen’s case in particular, though, seems riddled with real or potential conflicts of interest. While Tilsen technically consults for the State of Iowa, he is paid in part by labor unions, as both parties to arbitration cases share the cost of the arbitrator. To that point, according to U.S. Department of Labor records, Tilsen was paid $7,451 last year by AFSCME Council 61. Meanwhile, as Minnesota’s BMS commissioner, Tilsen oversees union elections and helps resolve union disputes involving AFSCME affiliates. As such, one has to ask: How can a fulltime, government official who collects income directly from a labor union be expected to act as an impartial referee of labor disputes?

While this isn’t illegal, it’s more than suspect. Jeff Johnson, the MNGOP-endorsed candidate for governor, made this statement on the matter:

“Mark Dayton uses his office to pay back his union campaign contributors, and apparently his Commissioner in charge of dealing with unions is in their pocket as well,” said Jeff Johnson.

“This is a gross conflict of interest. Commissioners have a full time job and are paid a handsome full-time salary by the taxpayers. They shouldn’t be doing outside work in any case, and certainly shouldn’t be taking paychecks from the people they are supposed to regulate,” Johnson said.

“This is just another example of Dayton’s sacrificing the interests of Minnesotans to those of his campaign contributors,” Johnson concluded.

It isn’t a stretch to think that Democrats side with their special interest allies more frequently than they side with Minnesota’s families. In fact, that’s their identity.

At this point, it’s reasonable to question the upcoming election’s integrity.

First, Tilsen needs to recuse himself. Second, Gov. Dayton needs to put back in place Gov. Pawlenty’s policy of prohibiting commissioners from having a side job. Third, the legislature should look into whether other commissioners in the Dayton administration are consultants. If other commissioners are consulting, they need to quit ASAP.

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Heather Carlson’s and Brianna Jett’s reporting is damning to the Dayton administration. According to their reporting, Lucinda Jesson, the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, was notified that people weren’t getting notified that the state needed more information to process their applications for MinnesotaCare:

The recent revelation that the state failed to send out letters to 16,000 low-income Minnesotans seeking medical assistance to let them know their applications had not been processed and they were not covered does not surprise Olmsted County Community Services Director Paul Fleissner.

“Every county has been screaming that we didn’t think notices were going out, and the state kept saying yes, yes, yes, people are just forgetting this. We had a really strong sense that they weren’t and finally it’s been confirmed that they weren’t going to our people,” Fleissner said.

Gov. Dayton and Commissioner Jesson were either incompetent or disinterested in making sure the workarounds actually worked. Either way, the Dayton administration let 16,000 applicants down because they didn’t do what they were supposed to do.

Some of these 16,000 applicants have been without health insurance for 6 months. Some have accumulated significant personal debt through no fault of their own.

The process to send out the letters was supposed to be fully automated, but it still requires manual workarounds. The lack of letters sent was a known issue in January, but late last week the problem was not resolved and many people still did not know that their applications were incomplete. Often, more information was needed such as verification of income, citizenship or tribal membership.

Gov. Dayton’s and Commissioner Jesson’s inaction and inattentiveness is unacceptable. Why did’t DHS verify that these letters would be sent before the end of January? It’s disgusting that nobody verified that important step.

Fleissner said the failure of the state to send out the letters is just the latest in a string of software problems related to the state’s healthcare exchange.

“It’s incredibly frustrating,” Fleissner said. “It’s wearing (county employees) out, to be honest with you. It’s been disheartening just because any time you are in a job you want to have the right tools to do the job, and we don’t have the tools right now.”

Gov. Dayton pushed hard to create MNsure. Unfortunately, he’s been as disinterested in verifying that MNsure was working as he was excited in pushing for its creation. Governing isn’t just signing bills. That’s just the first step. Governing requires people actually verifying that the things required by those laws are being followed. If nobody is interested in verifying that these things are happening, then government collapses.

This should end any possibility that single payer should be considered. Single payer requires the government to do everything, including paying the customers’ bills. Based on what we’ve seen in both St. Paul and DC, does anyone think that government is capable of handling that responsibility?

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It’s hard to take Mark Dayton seriously anymore. With the list of crises that he’s created, with the help of a DFL legislature, growing seemingly exponentially, it’s hard to view him as competent. The latest crisis is the MinnesotaCare/MNsure crisis, which everyone is reporting on. Here’s the Pioneer Press’s article explaining the latest crisis:

At least 16,000 low-income Minnesotans never received letters telling them that the state needed more information on their MNsure applications for health insurance, and many possibly are still uninsured.

State officials disclosed the mistake on Wednesday and blamed the problem on human error.

The notices were supposed to tell the applicants to provide more information to qualify for the state’s Medical Assistance program, but the notices were never sent. The applicants applied through MNsure, the state’s new health insurance exchange, but their eligibility for the low-income assistance couldn’t be automatically verified.

Reaction to this mistake was harsh, with Rep. Greg Davids’ letter setting the tone:

Here’s the key part of Rep. Davids’ letter:

Minnesotans have always gone above and beyond to provide an affordable safety net for neighbors in need. Now, not only do these people not have any means for paying medical expenses, many have been accruing significant debt to pay for medical care out of pocket and likely face federal penalties for not having health insurance through no fault of their own.

Moreove, your disinterest in addressing any of these issues beyond the most superficial treatment has exposed taxpayers to unimaginable financial liability. Last week, the first lawsuit was filed against the state because of MNsure. A Cottage Grove man believes he was wrongly denied MinnesotaCare coverage because of flaws in HHS and MNsure. He is seeking reimbursement for over $2,100 spent on medical care while waiting in limbo for your administration to fix the systemic failures at HHS ad MNsure.

This administration’s history of incompetence is the lengthiest in recent Minnesota history. This information won’t reassure anyone that the Dayto administration is learning from its mistakes:

Future notices will be generated automatically by the information technology system. But the functionality for this isn’t yet available from the exchange. So, earlier this year the state Department of Human Services adopted a workaround process that broke down in February.

“The result of folks not getting this notice is that they’ve been in this pending status for some number of months, as many as six, waiting for some indication,” Johnson said.

Saying that the workaround process didn’t work is understatement. If this had happened during the first year of the Dayton administration, people might’ve given the Dayton administration the benefit of the doubt. They’ll be less forgiving because it happened 3 years into Gov. Dayton’s term. At some point, somebody needs to ask Gov. Dayton what the late Earl Weaver would ask umpires:

Time was, the Baltimore Orioles’ manager was Earl Weaver, a short, irascible, Napoleonic figure who, when cranky, as he frequently was, would shout at an umpire, “Are you going to get any better or is this it?”

With Gov. Dayton, I suspect the answer isn’t (a). Gov. Dayton won’t be getting any better. The disasters that we’ve seen, the crises that’ve happened on Gov. Dayton’s watch, are what we should expect from him.

Gov. Dayton’s name ID is off the charts. His incompetence is well-known. Let’s remember that Time Magazine picked him as one of the worst senators at the time. Here’s a reason why:

Dayton has passed few bills partly because some are too liberal for the Republican-controlled body, including one that would have created a Department of Peace and Nonviolence.

Minnesotans foolishly elected Dayton in 2010. Hopefully, they’ll recover from that act of irrationality and elect someone competent this time.

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There’s no question that MNsure will be a liability for the DFL this fall. The only question is whether the damage will be disastrous or fatal. This article tips the needle more towards fatal:

About 16,000 Minnesotans who applied for Medical Assistance through MNsure are still without health insurance, some caught in limbo for as long as six months.

State officials said Wednesday that letters notifying consumers of problems with their original insurance applications never got sent out. That mistake meant consumers didn’t realize they still had to provide crucial information before they could get coverage.

“It was a serious error on our part of not being more on top of understanding that process, and having the oversight in place,” said Deputy Commissioner Chuck Johnson of the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

The process, which was intended to be fully automated, still relies on one of the many manual workarounds holding the MNsure system together. An upgrade toLeitzthe MNsure system later this month is expected to fully automate the process.

Forgive me for being skeptical but I won’t believe this upgrade will work until it’s working flawlessly. People shouldn’t expect MNsure to be anything except a failure. MNsure is already guaranteed to be a mess again this fall:

During the assessment, 47 of the 73 sub-functions addressed were found either to be absent or not functioning as expected. Six of the 73 sub-functions could be considered for implementation post-open enrollment. The remaining 41 sub-functions need to be provided for the 2015 Open Enrollment either through changes/enhancements to the systems or through contingent means.

Last year, the MNsure meltdown was the top story in Minnesota. MNsure CEO Scott Leitz said that last year’s failure was because they didn’t have enough time to build MNsure. When MNsure fails again this fall, what will Leitz’s excuse be?

Those were messes that MNsure knew about but hadn’t fixed. This new article is a mess that we didn’t know about until today. That 16,000 Minnesotanss who applied for Medical Assistance were uninsured is proof of Gov. Dayton’s and Leitz’s incompetence. This is totally unacceptable.

When Gov. Dayton took office, Minnesota was an innovator in health care. Now, it’s a disaster. When the DFL took over the legislature, Minnesota’s health care system was working well. Now, it’s a total disaster. There’s no question that we didn’t have these problems before Obamacare/MNsure. There’s no question that we didn’t have these problems when Gov. Pawlenty was governor. And there’s no question that we didn’t have these problems when we had a GOP majority in the legislature.

Gov. Dayton wants people to believe that he’s moving Minnesota in the right direction. MNsure is proof positive that he’s moving Minnesota in the opposite direction. He’s made terrible policy decisions. MNsure is proof of that. He’s frequently admitted that he didn’t know important things about the bills he’s signed. He didn’t know that the Vikings were allowed to sell personal seat licenses. He supposedly didn’t know that the tax bill included a farm implement repair sales tax in the tax bill he supposedly negotiated. He allegedly didn’t know that the revenues from e-pulltabs would fall disastrously short of paying the State’s share of the Vikings stadium bill.

When Gov. Dayton hurts farmers and the working poor, it’s time for a change. That time is this November. There’s no excuse for this much incompetence.

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Based on Gov. Dayton’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Harris v. Quinn lawsuit, there’s little doubt but that he’s got quite a temper. Check out his reaction to the ruling:

“By a 5-4 vote the court has voted to roll back the cause of civil rights in America,” he said. “For decades the right to organize has been an accepted mainstream principle in American society. If people can’t vote for themselves to decide if they want to join a union or not, that’s just not democracy.”

First, it’s stunning that Gov. Dayton doesn’t know the Constitution better than this. I’m including the text of the First Amendment for Gov. Dayton’s peronal edification:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Specifically, when the First Amendment say that “Congress shall make no law” that infringes on the people’ right to peaceably to assemble for the purpose of petitioning “Government for a redress of grievances”, it means that the people get to decide who will represent them.

Second, the government, whether at the local, state or federal level, has the right to tell private sector employers that they’re really public sector employees. How dare Gov. Dayton assume that a legislature has the right to reclassify these small businesses as public sector employees. That’s the business owners’ right. Period.

Ken Martin got more than a little upset, too:

But Ken Martin, the chair of Minnesota’s DFL Party, said the decision was devastating.

“The Harris v. Quinn decision diminishes the ability of unions to work with American workers. It’s devastating to think that the gains for wages, benefits and working conditions made by unions during the last century will be jeopardized,” Martin said.

There’s no question that this is a stinging defeat for AFSCME and the SEIU. That being said, it isn’t the end of collective bargaining, which is what Martin is hinting at. Harris v. Quinn simply says that the government can’t tell business owners that they’re public employees.

AFSCME definitely didn’t lose the right to negotiate collective bargaining agreements for correction officers, EMTs or sanitation workers. SEIU Local 26 definitely didn’t lose the right to negotiate on behalf of Minnesota’s Property Services Union.

I strongly suspect that Gov. Dayton’s and Chairman Martin’s statements are meant more to distract union workers from the DFL’s division on mining. By highlighting this, the DFL is hoping Iron Rangers will forget about mining and focus on union solidarity.

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This morning’s ruling in the Harris v. Quinn case is a major setback for public employee unions. First, Harris v. Quinn
is the lawsuit brought by Pamela Harris, a home care giver in Illinois. The ramifications will be felt immediately in Minnesota. GOP gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson issued this statement immediately following the ruling:

“Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling is a tremendous victory for Minnesota childcare providers and all those who value employment freedom. It was beyond the pale for Governor Dayton to use the livelihoods of hundreds of small businesswomen throughout the state as collateral to pay back his union campaign contributors. I congratulate the brave and determined women who fought back, and I look forward to ensuring this November that Mark Dayton never has the opportunity to do this to them again.”

The Supreme Court ruled that public sector unions can’t collect fees from home health care workers who object to being affiliated with a union. The Court’s decision nearly guarantees that Dayton will lose his lawsuit with Minnesota childcare providers.

This statement was issued by Deputy House Republican Leader Jennifer Loon and Rep. Mary Franson after the ruling:

“Today’s ruling is a welcome relief for Minnesota’s small business owners and hardworking families whose livelihoods were put in jeopardy by Governor Dayton and the Democrat-controlled legislature,” said Loon. “With the annual costs of childcare exceeding the average cost of in-state college tuition and fees, combined with the fact that Democrat legislators refused to give moms and dads with kids in daycare bigger tax refunds this year, Minnesota families simply cannot afford the additional strain that unionization would have imposed on their budgets.”

“The ruling from the Supreme Court today sends a clear signal to Governor Dayton and Democrats in the legislature that they must cease their reckless attempts to force independent childcare providers into a government union. Our children deserve better than to be pawns in a scheme to get more union dues out of hardworking parents” said Franson, a former childcare provider. “Minnesota parents and childcare providers can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing it’s likely that their childcare will not be imperiled by the higher costs and reduced choices of forced unionization.”

This is a major setback for AFSCME and the SEIU. Likewise, it’s a stinging defeat for Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislature, who passed the law that allowed for unionization elections. Meanwhile, this is certain to cause joy with in-home child care providers.

I got the reaction of in-home child care providers last fall, which I published in a 3-part series. The links are here, here and here.

This has been a terrible week for the Obama administration. It hasn’t been a stellar week for the Dayton administration, either. They both lost on the Harris v. Quinn ruling. Meanwhile, President Obama got spanked when the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that his recess appointments were unconstitutional. For Gov. Dayton, his other major loss was the news that MNsure won’t be functional before the next open enrollment.

It’s understatement to say that this hasn’t been a good week for liberals. Combine last week’s SCOTUS rulings with the headwinds slamming Democrats electorally and you’ve got reason to believe that this won’t be a happy election campaign season for Democrats.

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Ted Plombon’s editorial in the St. Cloud Times is the best explanation I’ve heard on why the number of uninsured people has dropped in Minnesota. Here’s Mr. Plombon’s explanation, complete with statistics:

Let’s take a look to see where those previously uninsured people are getting their coverage. Some of this information is taken from the State Health Access Data Assistance Center. (View the entire report at www.shadac.org.)

The authors of the report took data from Sept. 30, 2013 and May 1, 2014. Their finding was that there was a drop of 180,500 of uninsured people in Minnesota or 40.6 percent. However, the drop was primarily driven by an increase in the number of Minnesotans who enrolled in the state’s health insurance programs, Medical Assistance (Medicaid) and Minnesota Care. Of the 180,500 newly insured, over 155,000 were enrolled in these two taxpayer programs.

This is possible because Obamacare expands the eligibility for Medicaid. That equates to less than 25,000 insureds who actually purchased private health plans through MNsure. Most of those plans were also subsidized by you and I, the taxpayers.

While this is good news for people enrolling in expanded Medicaid, it’s terrible news for Minnesota taxpayers. Medicaid is funded by both the federal and state government. By expanding Medicaid, Gov. Dayton just destined Minnesota taxpayers to overwhelming tax increases.

Minnesota does have the highest tax at 3.5 percent of premium to help offset some of the cost, but I have a feeling they will be asking the taxpayers to once again dig a little deeper into their pockets.

I wrote here about the bailout that the DFL legislature passed this year and that Gov. Dayton signed. The bailout was $400,000,000 this time. According to the Pioneer Press’s article, there will be a significant increase in the number of people on Medicaid in 2015 than there are right now. That means the $400,000,000 bailout that the DFL legislature passed is just the start of the Medicaid/MNsure bailout. The next bailout will be substantially higher.

In my earlier post, I quoted Sen. Michelle Benson. Here’s what she said:

He noted pushback from legislative Republicans, including the contention of Sen. Michelle Benson of Ham Lake that, to the extent the reduction came from people enrolling in the state’s Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare insurance programs, the state “didn’t need MNsure at all.”

When Republicans were the majority party in 2011-2012, 93% of Minnesotans were insured. Of those that weren’t insured, half were eligible for taxpayer-subsidized health insurance. In other words, Minnesota could’ve had a higher rate of insured people before MNsure/Obamacare than they have now.

The truth is that Gov. Dayton won’t be able to keep his promise of limiting the tax increases to just the top 2%. He’ll have to raise taxes on the middle class to pay for MNsure. That’s the thing voters need to keep in mind when they hear Gov. Dayton or a DFL legislator say that MNsure is a success.

MNsure will guarantee middle class tax increases. If that’s the DFL’s definition of success, I don’t want to see their definition of failure.

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Towards the end of the 2014 legislative session, the DFL quietly passed a $400,000,000 bailout of MNsure. Technically, the bailout was for MinnCare but MNsure caused MinnCare’s insolvency. Based on the information in this Pi-Press article, that bailout was just the tip of an iceberg. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Most of those enrolled through the exchange are on public subsidies. As of last week, nearly a quarter-million Minnesotans had enrolled. Of those, 88 percent, 218,615 out of a total of 249,369, are receiving a public subsidy.

That leaves 30,754 Minnesotans who purchased a plan on their own via MNsure.

The ratio of subsidized to “commercial” enrollees “needs a long hard look going forward,” said Julie Brunner, executive director of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans. Unless they “ramp up significantly,” she wonders if the low numbers on the commercial side will provide “the financial support that MNsure needs to have a balanced budget.”

That’s stunning information. Based on that information, MNsure isn’t sustainable financially. If MNsure needs a bailout, that means tax increases can’t be far behind. This is more bad news:

The system is preparing to absorb still more public enrollees. MNsure has delayed until August a major transition of public insurance beneficiaries to the system. About 800,000 Minnesotans will be renewing their current coverage.

MNsure CEO Scott Leitz told the editorial board earlier this month that the agency “wanted the system to be stable” to handle the influx.

That’s disturbing because MNsure isn’t stable:

During the assessment, 47 of the 73 sub-functions addressed were found either to be absent or not functioning as expected. Six of the 73 sub-functions could be considered for implementation post-open enrollment. The remaining 41 sub-functions need to be provided for the 2015 Open Enrollment either through changes/enhancements to the systems or through contingent means.

That’s what instability sounds like. Last fall, MNsure’s rollout was a disaster. This year’s open enrollment will be a bigger disaster than last year’s open enrollment. Thanks in part to that, the revenue shortfall will be greater this year than last year.

With MNsure stability being at least a year away, it’s likely that the shortfall for the next biennium will be huge. It’s difficult to see this turning out well for Minnesota taxpayers. In the end, though, these shortfalls will put pressure on the DFL Senate to resist changing MNsure.

It’s time for the DFL to accept the reality that it’s time to start over on health care reform. When a system is this disfunctional, this expensive and this unpopular, it’s time to start from scratch. Minnesota was a leader in health care. We should’ve learned from that. Instead, Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislature created this financial nightmare.

Sen. Michelle Benson might’ve put it best:

A key point, however, noted by the Pioneer Press’ Christopher Snowbeck: The report couldn’t say exactly where the uninsured found coverage, that is, whether insurance was obtained through public programs, private insurers available through MNsure or commercial plans sold outside the health exchange.

He noted pushback from legislative Republicans, including the contention of Sen. Michelle Benson of Ham Lake that, to the extent the reduction came from people enrolling in the state’s Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare insurance programs, the state “didn’t need MNsure at all.”

That’s spot on. Rather than weighing the options, Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen let their ideology drive their votes. As a result, all Minnesotans will be hurt financially.

Let’s be clear about this. There aren’t enough rich people in Minnesota to raise taxes on…again. The DFL will have to raise taxes on the middle class if these MNsure deficits continue as expected.

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Gov. Dayton attended a rally in Virginia Monday but that doesn’t mean he’s committed to mining.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton urged iron miners to step up the fight against foreign countries illegally dumping steel in the U.S. and threatening the local mining industry.

“The story of the Iron Range is one of standing strong against exploitation and oppression, and too often of a government that will not stand with them,” Dayton said to a cheering crowd of 1,500 iron miners. “Today’s enemies are not the companies, but the countries that dump their steel in the U.S. market, depress the prices and take away your jobs.”

It’s interesting that Gov. Dayton will rally with miners who work at existing mining companies but won’t support new mining projects like PolyMet and Twin Metals-Minnesota. I didn’t say that Gov. Dayton’s behavior is inexplicable. It’s quite understandable.

When it comes to taking a stand on jobs or the environment, Gov. Dayton is a wimp, always siding with environmental activists like his ex-wife Alida Messinger. This year, despite loud protestations from the Range, Gov. Dayton has insisted that he won’t take a position on PolyMet until the reviews are done.

That isn’t leadership. That’s what spineless wimps do.

Republicans are capitalizing on the PolyMet issue:

GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Honour’s running mate, state Sen. Karin Housley, drove up to attend the rally. “Scott Honour and I support the mining jobs in northern Minnesota,” Housley said. “We are all about mining jobs.”

After the rally, Housley toured the proposed copper-nickel mine in Hoyt Lakes, where PolyMet Corp. is seeking approval for a mine that could bring hundreds of jobs and millions in new investment. But the 20-year mine would also require environmental clean-up that could stretch 500 years.

Housley said she has a long connection to PolyMet. She is a member of a small group of hobbyist investors who first invested in PolyMet about eight years ago and even toured the facility.

“There is room for common-sense growing jobs and protecting the environment,” she said. “We are all over creating jobs up here.”

GOP-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson issued a statement saying Dayton is not leading on job-creation issues on the Iron Range.

“Attending rallies is not leading – it is standing,” Johnson said. “When I am governor, I am not just going to stand with people who are losing their jobs, I am going to do everything I can to ensure that mining jobs aren’t just protected, they are expanded.”

Of course, the DFL doesn’t like the possibility of losing support on a long-time electoral stronghold:

Dayton and other Democrats took direct aim at Republicans at the rally, saying that the GOP has repeatedly tried to raid special Iron Range funds whenever the budget got tight. Democrats said the Republican’s sudden interest in the Iron Range is a fleeting political ploy.

First, Gov. Dayton’s support of mining is questionable at best. He hasn’t said a positive word about mining since becoming governor. Second, Democrats sound defensive now that GOP gubernatorial candidates are fighting for Iron Range votes.

Third and most importantly, Democrats talk about budget tightening while they’re causing the tightness by not letting the Iron Range economy flourish. Their history of creating jobs on the Range is awful. That’s why the MHI for Eveleth is $35,500.

Dayton and other Democrats fought for projects and jobs “that would improve your quality of life on the Iron Range, across Minnesota and across the country.”

On that front, Gov. Dayton and the DFL failed. One in 6 people living on the Range live in poverty. That isn’t the definition of jobs that “improve your quality of life.” That’s the definition of failing the Range while leaving them in misery.
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This op-ed by Reps. Tara Mack and Joe Hoppe criticizes Gov. Dayton for not releasing health insurance premium rates until after the election:

In 2013, Dayton’s administration and insurance companies worked to release plan details a month before open enrollment. This gave people an idea of what to expect before shopping on MNsure, and consumers had three months to find, select and purchase a plan. This year Minnesotans won’t know the price of plans until MNsure’s next enrollment period begins on Nov. 15.

As disgusting as the DFL’s secrecy is, this part is the most troubling:

They’ll have just four weeks to find a plan and complete enrollment.

I won’t hesitate in making this prediction: Based on Deloitte’s report, 4 weeks won’t be enough to get everyone enrolled who wants to be enrolled. Here’s part of Deloitte’s report:

As the nation moves toward the Fall of 2014 (open enrollment for Benefit Year 2015), in addition to supporting initial enrollment, a State’s Health Insurance Exchange must also be able to process the renewal of existing enrollment base. These additional demands compound the remediation efforts that have been underway in Minnesota.

During the assessment, 47 of the 73 sub-functions addressed were found either to be absent or not functioning as expected. Six of the 73 sub-functions could be considered for implementation post-open enrollment. The remaining 41 sub-functions need to be provided for the 2015 Open Enrollment either through changes/enhancements to the systems or through contingent means.

In other words, minimal progress has been made on MNsure. According to Deloitte, Minnesotans shouldn’t expect major progress this year, either:

The 3 most critical absent functions are included in this release plan: (1) Changes in circumstances, (2) Medicaid renewals and (3) Qualified Health Plan (QHP) renewals.

That’s the least terrible news from pg. 8 of the Deloitte report. This is worse news:

Some of the system requirements for this functionality have not been finalized. If this functionality isn’t implemented on schedule, its absence could have a significant adverse impact on MNsure operations during open enrollment.

Last year, the conventional wisdom was that a) Obamacare would remain flawed because it was built on terrible policies and b) the website would get fixed relatively quickly. Deloitte’s report casts additional suspicion on last year’s conventional wisdom.

The sarcastic side of me thinks there’s a possibility we’ll elect Obama’s successor before Mnsure is operating properly. I’m not certain my sarcastic side isn’t right.

The Dayton administration’s own economists said MNsure and Obamacare will increase insurance costs in Minnesota by as much as 30 percent. A different report published recently from the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research shows that the price of premiums in Minnesota has increased on average by 47 percent after the implementation of Obamacare.

Whether the website is working or not, the reality is that premiums have jumped since Obamacare was signed into law. Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act, is expensive and unpopular. The MNsure website still isn’t working. In fact, there’s little reason for optimism that it’ll be fixed anytime soon.

Add the Dayton administration’s attempt to hide insurance premium information from Minnesota families and there’s reason to be skeptical about Obamacare.

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