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In September, Mark Dayton insisted that PreferredOne’s leaving MNsure was competition in action:

Gov. Mark Dayton says a key provider’s decision to drop out of the state-run health exchange is competition in action.

The Star Tribune is reporting it’s nothing of the sort:

Sometime after the insurer PreferredOne submitted its proposed rates for the first year of the MNsure exchange, state regulators asked the company to consider lowering the numbers. Ultimately, the insurer responded with “a total rate decrease of 37 percent,” according to a July 2013 letter from an outside actuary to the company. Those final rates were the lowest in the Twin Cities, and across the country, in many cases, and helped Preferred­One to grab nearly 60 percent of the MNsure business.

Now, those subscribers face an average premium increase of 63 percent if they stay with PreferredOne, a yo-yo scenario that health policy experts say points to the challenge in setting prices under the federal health law. The big swing also suggests that the low prices were out of step with the reality of the business.

Dayton’s dishonest numbers, combined with his disdain for competition, have caused Minnesota insurance prices to skyrocket. Dayton’s dishonest health insurance numbers were always dishonest. Now it’s verifiable.

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I’ll risk saying this but the professional political punditry needs to get start seeing things through a policy impact perspective, not through a ‘will it play politically’ perspective. During this morning’s gubernatorial debate, Gov. Dayton said that he’s long advocated for a single-payer health care system.

What was the collective reaction from the professional political punditry? Crickets. No big deal. Keep moving.

The government, whether we’re talking about the Obama administration or the Dayton administration, is incapable of handling anything that complex. In too many instances, it’s incapable of handling fundamental responsibilities.

That professional political pundits think it isn’t a big deal to advocate for a system that’s never worked anywhere because that’s been his standard answer is shameful. Style points seem to matter more than character, policy impacts and what’s best for Minnesota.

It’s time to tune out the professional political pundits because they’re too interested in election outcomes. Unfortunately, they aren’t interested enough in policy outcomes. Jeff Johnson’s policies will make life better in Minnesota. Unlike Gov. Dayton, Jeff Johnson will fight to build the Sandpiper Pipeline because that’ll free up railcar space so farmers can get their crops to market. That makes life better for hard-working Minnesota farmers. Unlike Gov. Dayton, Jeff Johnson will fight to open PolyMet because that’ll create hundreds of good-paying jobs. That’d make life significantly better for miners and mining communities.

Apparently, these things don’t matter to the professional political punditry from both sides of the aisle. Their tweets didn’t speak to what’s best for Minnesota. They just spoke to who won or lost based on game-changing moments and style points. That isn’t responsible journalism. That’s the type of partisanship that’s rotted our institutions and corrupted the political process.

If Republicans retake the House of Representatives and Gov. Dayton gets re-elected, Republicans will have a mandate because they spoke about issues. Gov. Dayton will have retained his title but he won’t have a mandate because he hasn’t spoken about what he’d do in his second term.

The DFL isn’t the party of no. They’re the party that won’t say no to their special interests that are driving Minnesota’s economy into the ground. Ask an Iron Ranger if they’re better off now than when Gov. Dayton took office. If they’re honest, they’ll say they aren’t. Their median household income has increased marginally. The percentage of people living below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) grew by roughly 50%.

Health insurance premiums have skyrocketed. It’s virtually impossible to get changes made to policies to include or drop people from coverage. Still, Gov. Dayton insists that “it isn’t perfect” but that it’s getting better. Once a month, if not more often, we hear of another MNsure-related disaster.

Meanwhile, the professional political punditry insist that Gov. Dayton is winning because Jeff Johnson didn’t have that big game-changing moment. With all due respect, these political junkies are missing the point. Jeff Johnson has been solid. He’s provided sensible solutions to Minnesota’s biggest problems. Gov. Dayton has been dismissive, arrogant and utterly incompetent. He’s Minnesota’s version of Jimmy Carter.

It’s time to ignore the political junkies because they’re worried more about gamesmanship than doing what’s right for Minnesota. While we’re at it, it’d be great to get rid of the incompetent in the Governor’s Mansion, too.

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Joe Atkins, one of the co-chairs of the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee, insists that Tim O’Driscoll’s editorial was misleading. Actually, it’s Atkins’ editorial that’s misleading:

Republican Rep. Tim O’Driscoll’s recent op-ed (“Insurance premiums are going up,” Oct. 12) was very misleading and continues the practice of attacking MNsure, celebrating technical problems and distorting the facts about rate increases.

The fact is that Minnesota’s rates remain the lowest in the nation and our uninsured rate dropped by 40 percent, to the lowest level in state history.

Republicans ignore the $20 million in federal tax credits that Minnesotans received this year. When tax credits are accounted for in next year’s rates, many Minnesotans statewide will actually see a decrease in their premiums.

In Region 8, which includes Stearns, Sherburne and Benton counties, a 25-year-old selecting a silver plan, the most commonly selected plan, will see an average increase of 3 percent with tax credits. A 40-year-old on a silver plan will see an average increase of 1 percent, and a 60-year-old will see no increase.

Talk about misleading. That’s stunning. From Rep. Atkins’ perspective, premiums didn’t increase because taxpayers are footing the bill for MNsure’s premium increases.

Rep. Atkins, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Someone’s paying for those premium increases. When premiums increased by 22% in Benton, Stearns, Sherburne and Wright counties, the premiums really skyrocketed. When premiums increased by 43% in Meeker, Kandiyohi, Chippewa or Yellow Medicine counties, premiums really increased. When premiums increased by 34% in Cottonwood, Lyons, Nobles and Murray counties’, premiums really increased.

Let’s remember Chairman Atkins’ happy talk in Atkins’ interview with Julie Bartkey in mid-September, 2013. After that, let’s fast forward to January, when KSTP’s reporter Jay Kolls interviewed Jim Nobles, the Legislative Auditor. Here’s what Kolls reported:

KOLLS: There are all kinds of red flags popping up at MNsure and Jim Nobles tells me that MNsure has not delivered what it promised to taxpayers and the agency needs to be held accountable.

In the interview, Jim Nobles said this:

So I think everyone agrees that we simply have not delivered what we promised.

Watch this video of Atkins talking about whether the rollout would be smooth:

This interview happened a week before MNsure and HealthCare.gov went live.

BARTKEY: How are you feeling with everything? Are you feeling confident? Off camera, you said that the whole nation’s eyes are watching.
ATKINS: I’m actually feeling better about it every day. One of the best news days that we had was when we found out that this would have the best rates of any insurance marketplace in the country. My understanding is that tomorrow — I don’t know when this all gets shown — that the federal rates are going to be released for all 50 states and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Minnesota will lead the nation of having the lowest rates anywhere in the country.
BARTKEY: What about any of the technical aspects, any concerns that it will crash or that people won’t be as trained as they should be to make sure that consumers can pick the right plan?
ATKINS: When you’re as technically unsavvy as I am, anything like an iPad or a computer concerns me. But that’s why you hire the professionals that you do and I’m — from all that I hear — we’ve got the best folks involved both at the state level and externally coming in and taking a look at how we’re doing business to make sure that we’ve got those protections, to make sure that we’ve got the IT network in place to handle it.

That’s proof that Rep. Atkins is a king of happy talk, the point person to deliver sunny-sounding statements that everything’s just fine whether that’s true or not.

Having Atkins say that rates are really cheap because they’re heavily subsidized is like saying Northstar Rail is inexpensive because taxpayers, not riders, pay for most of the cost of transporting people. Rep. Atkins shouldn’t be trusted because his op-ed is spin:

Compare that with rate increases over the last decade as high as 19.5 percent. In Region 8, some carriers are offering plans that are 18 percent cheaper than they were last year. When was the last time you heard of health plans going down in price?

Let’s compare that with the truth:

From 2003 to 2010, individual market insurance premiums rose a total of 35 percent in Minnesota, compared with 47 percent in our first year under Obamacare.

Rep. Atkins’ spin and cherrypicking is anything but the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Rep. O’Driscoll’s advice is good advice:

Keep a copy of this article, and when open enrollment begins Nov. 15, take a look at your new premiums and compare my math to the 4.5 percent number being marketed by MNsure.

Rest assured that Chairman Atkins’ spin won’t withstand strict scrutiny.

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I predicted that Gov. Dayton would attempt to deflect criticism from the bogus health insurance premium rate increase report. I was right:

Republican Jeff Johnson seized Thursday on new insurance data to accuse Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton of lying about how much health premiums will increase for coverage next year.

Johnson said the Dayton administration is lowballing the medical premium estimates for political advantage. Dayton shot back that Johnson is ignoring that people are free to shop around for the best deal and said his charge demonstrates a rival who “gets more desperate by the day.”

Gov. Dayton’s response was predictable. In fact, I predicted it. Gov. Dayton’s dismissive attitude won’t sit well with Alycia Reidl. Here’s what she told the MNsure Board of Directors:

“You’ve got to remember, the majority of consumers who have individual health insurance policies did not buy them through MNsure,” says Alycia Reidl of the Minnesota Association of Health Underwriters. “Most of them are outside of MNsure at this point, and they haven’t received their renewals yet. As they start to receive them, they’re going to understand they have significant increases facing them.”

Reidl made that point to the MNsure Board at their first meeting since the new MNsure rates were announced. She told them many Minnesotans now have the mistaken notion their rates will go up only 4.5 percent. Instead, Reidl says they’re likely to get “sticker shock” when they see their increases. “The increases that are happening are putting our clients in a really difficult situation which is putting us in a difficult situation as the bearer of that news,” Reidl told the MNsure Board.

Gov. Dayton’s dismissiveness is only exceeded by his dishonesty. The Minnesota Association of Health Underwriters are experts on the size of rate increases because they’re working with it every day. By contrast, Gov. Dayton has shown that he doesn’t know what’s in the bills he’s signed. If I’m forced to choose between Alycia Reidl or Gov. Dayton on the issue of trust, that’s an easy decision. Hint: I wouldn’t trust the sitting governor of Minnesota as much as I’d trust Ms. Reidl.

The administration’s 4.5 percent average leaves out PreferredOne, a dominant player in MNsure last year that isn’t selling policies through the exchange this year. Details that surfaced Wednesday show its customers could see up to 60-percent premium increases if they want to keep their policies and buy them away from the exchange for 2015.

Gov. Dayton is fond of saying that PreferredOne “‘misjudged the market'” last year by offering lower costs than bigger competitors in an attempt to gain market share.” Whether that’s true or not, the reality is that PreferredOne’s rates are going up in a big way. Minnesotans will experience sticker shock when they get their renewal notices.

Commissioner Johnson should be asking Minnesotans who’ve seen their new rates for 2015 if they’re feeling the Dayton-DFL middle class squeeze. I’d remind people that Republicans didn’t vote for MNsure, which means the double-digit increases they’re seeing are Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s fault. They passed it. They own this disaster.

Gov. Dayton can make petulant child-like comments insinuating that Jeff Johnson isn’t being honest. What Gov. Dayton can’t do is hide from MAHU’s well-documented numbers. Those numbers show how expensive health insurance is through MNsure. Gov. Dayton’s hissy fits won’t change those facts because facts are stubborn things.

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When Gov. Dayton’s Department of Commerce announced MNsure’s rate increases, skeptical statements poured in. State Senate Republicans put together this interactive map to spread the truth that Gov. Dayton’s Department of Commerce wouldn’t. KSTP’s Tom Hauser says people are justified in worried about big health insurance premium spikes:

With great fanfare earlier this month, Minnesota Department of Commerce officials announced Minnesota would continue to have among the “lowest health insurance rates in the country.” They were referring to health insurance sold through MNsure, which they said would only increase an “average of 4.5 percent.”

That modest increase was immediately met with skepticism by Republican opponents of Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration. However, the health insurance industry is also throwing cold water on the notion that Minnesotans will see rates go up just 4.5 percent. Whether buying insurance in the MNsure system or through the private market, for most Minnesotans reality will not match the rosy 4.5 percent “average increase.”

“You’ve got to remember, the majority of consumers who have individual health insurance policies did not buy them through MNsure,” says Alycia Reidl of the Minnesota Association of Health Underwriters. “Most of them are outside of MNsure at this point, and they haven’t received their renewals yet. As they start to receive them, they’re going to understand they have significant increases facing them.”

Reidl made that point to the MNsure Board at their first meeting since the new MNsure rates were announced. She told them many Minnesotans now have the mistaken notion their rates will go up only 4.5 percent. Instead, Reidl says they’re likely to get “sticker shock” when they see their increases. “The increases that are happening are putting our clients in a really difficult situation which is putting us in a difficult situation as the bearer of that news,” Reidl told the MNsure Board.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s another part of that iceberg:

When Gov. Dayton says that Minnesota’s health insurance rates are the cheapest in the nation, it’s important to highlight the fact that, though that’s true, it’s after three-fourths of the people received rate increases while transitioning from the policies they liked to Obamacare-approved policies. The next logical question would be about how big those premium increases were. You ask. I’ll deliver:

According to that graphic, 28.3% of people surveyed got rate increases of 11-20%. Another 30% of the people got rate increase ranging between 21%-30%. Another 15% of people got rate increases of 31%-40%. Those statistic don’t fit with the bill’s title of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it here. When the ACA kicked in, most everyone’s premiums spiked. That means that Minnesota’s premiums are the least terrible premiums in the nation. They’re a better grade of terrible.

Jeff Johnson is calling on Gov. Dayton to apologize for lying to Minnesota about the rate increases:

“A few weeks ago, Mark Dayton stood before the press and flat-out lied to Minnesotans. Dayton’s claim that MNsure rates are going up an average of just 4.5% next year is completely bogus, and he knows it. I call on Governor Dayton to come clean and apologize to Minnesotans for lying to us. Enough is enough.”

I’m predicting that Gov. Dayton, or one of his paid shills, will release a statement saying that Commissioner Johnson’s accusations are the actions of a desperate candidate who’ll say anything in his attempt to win an election. Commissioner Johnson, I’d have a statement prepared to respond to Gov. Dayton’s unresponsive response. Here’s what I’d put in that statement:

Gov. Dayton, why are you accusing “Alycia Reidl of the Minnesota Association of Health Underwriters” of lying? In the days ahead, our campaign will be releasing stories from families throughout Minnesota who will verify MAHU’s report.

Minnesota doesn’t need a governor who won’t admit that MNsure, Obamacare in Minnesota, is an unmitigated disaster. Minnesota needs a governor with integrity and fresh ideas that will take Minnesota in the right direction.

I’m being charitable by saying Gov. Dayton’s Commerce Department used slippery math in the MNsure rate increase report. Gov. Dayton’s actions inform us that he isn’t a man of integrity. He’s a man just hoping to get past November 4th.

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Stewart Mills just won an important endorsement:

Don’t believe everything you’ve heard about Stewart Mills, except that he’s the clear choice for voters on Nov. 4 to send to Washington to represent Northeastern Minnesota’s sprawling 8th Congressional District.

Don’t believe he’s a rich kid who never had to work a day in his life, as some have charged this election season. The truth is he scrubbed toilets and mopped floors for his family’s Mills Fleet Farm stores. And today he’s vice president in charge of administering a health plan for the chain’s 6,000 employees and their families. A job of such importance requires plenty of hard work.

The Duluth New Tribune’s endorsement is one of the most important endorsements from Minnesota’s Eighth District. It isn’t the only endorsement that matters but it’s important.

What makes this endorsing editorial important is how it takes Rick Nolan to the woodshed. Here’s a great example of that:

Don’t believe critics who say Mills would privatize Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid if elected. Even after the Republican nominee flatly denied it at Tuesday’s forum, Nolan continued to make the baseless accusation.

“Yes, there have been some Republicans that have advanced different ideas, but those are not me. For Rep. Nolan to attempt to put words in my mouth because somebody somewhere in the Republican Party advanced one idea — . You know what? I can only state what I believe and what I will stand for in Washington,” Mills said. “I believe in preserving and protecting Social Security and Medicare.”

Nolan had his script a year ago. No matter who he ran against, Nolan’s plan was to accuse his opponent of a) representing the 1 percent and b) wanting to privatize Social Security. Why trust a person who won’t listen to what others are saying and who thinks he’s a mind reader? That wasn’t the only time the Tribune’s editorial board criticized Nolan:

Don’t believe Mills is a spoiled elitist, either, as this fall’s bad-mouthing further has purported. We all have our less-than-mature moments, but at Tuesday’s forum, Mills was respectful, he listened politely when it wasn’t his turn to speak, and he consistently referred to his opponents as “Rep. Nolan” and “Mr. Sandman.” (Ray “Skip” Sandman of Duluth is the Green Party nominee in the 8th District. Voters can hope Sandman stays involved in public service after his thoughtful, sincere and genuine performance Tuesday.)

By contrast, at least twice Nolan cut off Mills while he was talking; referred to him at least once as “Stew”; talked about his “dad and your granddaddy’s store,” as though speaking to a small child; and on a couple of occasions turned to Mills and lectured him like he would an underling. The moments were disrespectful, rude, inappropriate and less than congressional.

It’s astonishing how disrespectful Rick Nolan is. This wasn’t the first time Nolan was dismissive of Mills. It’s just that this debate was just the biggest stage where Nolan was condescending, undisciplined, dismissive and disrespectful.

Beyond that, Nolan’s anti-war policy is reckless:

Critics also have charged that Mills has no clue about foreign policy. But when asked about the threat of ISIS, Mills offered a detailed, realistic and honest assessment while Nolan said, simply, we can’t afford wars overseas. As true as that may be, reality is dictating a different course.

That’s downright dangerous thinking from a sitting member of Congress. Does Nolan think that we’re safe as long as we don’t bother ISIS? That’s incredibly naïve. That type of naiveté can’t be tolerated when terrorists are at war with us. Mills sounded like the wise congressman:

“We don’t have a choice in this one,” Mills said. “They have a direct stated intention of attacking Americans (and of) attacking America and American interests abroad. The current track that we’re on is the right track because we need to leverage our air power we need to work with our allies in the region … making sure that we’re able to give them the training and the arms (and) the logistical support and the intelligence they need so this particular coalition can be successful in undoing our mistake of creating the vacuum (caused by the premature U.S. withdrawal of troops from Iraq). We don’t have a choice in this. We can’t bury our heads in the sand while there are people being beheaded — while there are Americans being beheaded.”

Pretending that terrorists will leave us alone is foolish. That isn’t reality. As Mills said, ISIL has said that they want to attack Americans. They want to hoist their flag from the White House. ISIL has a history of doing what they say they’re going to do.

It’s time to retire Nolan. He’s outlived his political shelf life. He isn’t a good listener. His policies are older than the rock formations of the Iron Range.

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Stewart Mills nailed it in this article about the impact outside money has on races:

Every day of his 8th Congressional District campaign, he said, he hears evidence of a backlash of reaction from viewers to independent expenditure messages made by outsiders. “They know nothing about this district and they certainly know nothing about me,” Mills said earlier this month at the Crow Wing County Republican Victory Office in Baxter.

The DCCC’s ads sound like Nancy Pelosi’s superPAC ads, which sound almost identical to the ads Rick Nolan is running.

Just off the top of my head, I’ll come pretty close to the script. “Stewart Mills inherited his money. He opposed middle class tax cuts so that wealthy billionaires and multinational corporations could keep their tax breaks.” If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s only slightly different than the cookie cutter ad the DCCC is running against Torrey Westrom. The only difference between the two ads is that the DCCC’s ad against Torrey Westrom accuses Westrom of essentially masterminding the state government shutdown in 2011 while the DCCC’s ad against Stewart Mills is that he’s a rich and out of touch and that he that wants to go to Washington to protect his rich friends’ tax breaks.

He said his own message of a consumer based health insurance solution and a reining in of regulatory overreach is resonating with Republicans and independents alike. “I endeavor to run a very issues focused campaign,” Mills said. “Our message agrees with them.”

Despite the Democrats’ claim that people like the ACA, Mills is using the Affordable Care Act effectively to his advantage. Running against the EPA is another winner in the Eighth, too. Miners know that the federal government, especially the EPA and the US Forest Service, are preventing PolyMet from getting built. That’s a hot button issue if ever I heard of one for the Eighth District.

He wants a health care insurance solution that’s comprehensive. He said he favors the aspect of the Affordable Care Act in which people can’t be rejected for insurance because of pre-existing conditions. He rejects his opponent’s call for a single payer health care system.

“Consumerism works,” Mills said. “Socialism doesn’t.”

Because Mills has run Mills Fleet Farm’s health insurance program, he’s got instant credibility on the issue. Nolan didn’t try challenging him on health care during last week’s debate because he knows Mills is loaded with ammunition to blister Nolan on Nolan’s health care policies.

If the DCCC and Pelosi’s superPAC continue with the ads they’re currently running, there will be an anti-Nolan backlash. That wouldn’t be pretty for Nolan.

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Yesterday, I received a mailer from Pro Jobs Majority that criticizes Zach Dorholt’s vote for MNsure. Saying that it’s a hard-hitting mailer is understatement. Here’s one thing from the mailer:

The MNsure exchange was supposed to increase competition and help Minnesota families shop for health insurance. Instead, costs are increasing and we have fewer choices.

There’s no disputing whether costs are rising under MNsure. Despite the Dayton administration’s lie that insurance premiums are going up an average of 4.5%, the reality is it’s skyrocketing well past that in almost every county in the state.

In St. Louis County, the least expensive health insurance policy is increasing by 36% over last year. Meeker, Kandiyohi, Chippewa and Yellow Medicine counties are seeing their least expensive health insurance premiums jump by 43%. Cottonwood, Lyons, Nobles and Murray counties’ least expensive health insurance premiums hit a less-than-happy medium, increasing by 34%. Benton County’s least expensive health insurance premiums will increase by 22% in 2015. Ditto with Stearns, Sherburne and Wright counties.

Thanks to his vote, Dorholt’s constituents have seen their insurance premiums skyrocket.

When it came time for Minnesotans to sign up for insurance, the $160,000,000 MNsure website didn’t work as promised. (It still doesn’t.)

Unfortunately, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s another part of the MNsure disaster:

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.

Unfortunately, there’s still more:

Is your baby married? It’s a ridiculous question. But if you just had a baby and went to MNsure to update your family status, the health exchange website may ask you anyway. That kind of routine update is proving to be a big problem for MNsure and the Minnesotans using it to buy health coverage.

I wish that was it but it isn’t. Here’s more:

One example: It used to take five minutes to add a baby to a plan under Medical Assistance, Minnesota’s version of Medicaid, but now that Medical Assistance runs through MNsure it takes about 45 minutes and “you have to say whether or not a baby is married,” said Dakota County director of employment and economic assistance Marti Fischbach, who helps clients sign up for plans.

The mailer finishes with this:

And, unbelievably, the bureaucrats who created the MNsure mess got pay raises and bonuses.

Dorholt didn’t vote to give Scott Leitz and April Todd-Malmlov bonuses or pay raises. He just voted to create MNsure, who then threw away the taxpayers’ money on bonuses for inept bureaucrats.

The best way to ‘thank’ Zach Dorholt for all he’s given us is to vote for Jim Knoblach on Nov. 4.

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The thing that stood out during Tom Hauser’s interview with Gov. Dayton was Gov. Dayton’s insistence that some official government reports were totally accurate while other official government reports were rubbish.

For instance, Gov. Dayton insisted that health insurance prices were going up a paltry 4.5%, a statistic that’s been frequently discredited. Here’s what I wrote Sunday:

The Minnesota Senate Republicans put together this interactive map showing how much insurance premiums were increasing in each of Minnesota’s 87 counties.

For instance, Benton County’s least expensive health insurance premiums will increase by 22% in 2015. Stearns County’s least expensive health insurance premiums will increase by 22% in 2015, too. Ditto with Sherburne and Wright counties.

They should consider themselves lucky that they aren’t in Meeker, Kandiyohi, Chippewa or Yellow Medicine counties, where their least expensive health insurance premiums will jump by 43%. (Does that sound affordable?)

Cottonwood, Lyons, Nobles and Murray counties’ least expensive health insurance premiums hit a less-than-happy medium, increasing by 34%.

Gov. Dayton should be ashamed of himself for being this dishonest. The Dayton administration’s report saying that insurance premiums are only going up 4.5% is an outright lie.

Gov. Dayton wasn’t done lying with that, though. When Hauser brought up the BLS report that showed Minnesota was last in the Midwest in private sector job growth, Gov. Dayton started reciting the BS that Minnesota’s economy has created 160,000 jobs during his administration. Government jobs don’t create wealth. Private sector jobs are the only jobs that create wealth, which strengthens the economy.

The Dayton-DFL economy is a sugar high economy propped up by big bonding bills. The fundamentals are weak. Taxes are too high. Regulations prohibit or, at minimum, limit private sector job growth. MMB’s rosy scenario revenue forecasts are falling short on a near monthly basis.

Further, Minnesota’s economy hasn’t created 160,000 jobs. It’s closer to 110,000 jobs, 20% of which (21,523) are public sector jobs.

Later, Hauser questioned Gov. Dayton’s ad that says he’s cut taxes, asking whether it’s fair to question that considering the fact that Gov. Dayton campaigned on raising taxes. Gov. Dayton said that it’s fair to say because he only “raised taxes on the richest 2%.” Does this mean that Gov. Dayton thinks it’s ok to ignore raising taxes on “the rich” because they’re greedy and they don’t really count like the saintly middle class?

Seriously, Gov. Dayton’s thinking is warped, if it can be called thinking. Tax increases aren’t tax increases if they’re increased on people who Gov. Dayton disagrees with. Health insurance premiums are going up at 4.5% because his administration decided to use gimmicks to arrive at a figure that put the Dayton administration in the most favorable light. Families whose health insurance premiums were increasing by 20%-43% aren’t real because Gov. Dayton’s Commerce Department used deception to determine in putting together a political document rather than putting together a document that accurately reflects the increases that families will get hit with.

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Tim O’Driscoll’s op-ed on MNsure’s rate increases is the best explanation I’ve seen on the subject. Here’s the key paragraph in Rep. O’Driscoll’s op-ed:

But if you’re still wondering how the state arrived at a 4.5 percent average increase, Commerce simply took the four average rate changes for providers in the exchange (up 17.15 percent, up 8.12 percent, up 1.8 percent, and down 9.07 percent) and divided them by four.

First, it’s important to note that the Commerce Department intentionally misled Minnesotans. While the average rate increase for each of the 4 remaining plans equals 4.5%, that’s misleading at best. Here’s why:

The reality is people are paying more than ever because of Obamacare in Minnesota. For people in Benton, Sherburne and Stearns counties, MNsure enrollees will see their average rates go up between 18 and 37 percent. And people in the bronze plans, which offer the lowest cost options, will see premiums increase about 20 percent. This is simply unaffordable for too many hardworking Minnesotans.

So why are their numbers off by so much?

First, it’s important to note the comparison of last year’s rates to this year’s is not an apples-to-apples comparison. Instead, when calculating rates, Commerce chose to ignore that the lowest cost provider (which covered about 60 percent of MNsure enrollees) dropped out of the exchange because of continued technical problems and inefficiencies.

The Minnesota Senate Republicans put together this interactive map showing how much insurance premiums were increasing in each of Minnesota’s 87 counties.

For instance, Benton County’s least expensive health insurance premiums will increase by 22% in 2015. Stearns County’s least expensive health insurance premiums will increase by 22% in 2015, too. Ditto with Sherburne and Wright counties.

They should consider themselves lucky that they aren’t in Meeker, Kandiyohi, Chippewa or Yellow Medicine counties, where their least expensive health insurance premiums will jump by 43%. (Does that sound affordable?)

Cottonwood, Lyons, Nobles and Murray counties’ least expensive health insurance premiums hit a less-than-happy medium, increasing by 34%.

But I digress. Here’s more important information from Rep. O’Driscoll’s op-ed:

Additionally, I offer this to people who argue rates still aren’t going up as fast as they did before the Affordable Care Act or before Minnesota taxpayers spent $160 million on a broken MNsure website. From 2003 to 2010, individual market insurance premiums rose a total of 35 percent in Minnesota, compared with 47 percent in our first year under Obamacare.

That isn’t Rep. O’Driscoll’s opinion. That’s from statistics compiled by the Department of Commerce. Finally, this is great advice:

Keep a copy of this article, and when open enrollment begins Nov. 15, take a look at your new premiums and compare my math to the 4.5 percent number being marketed by MNsure.

I’ve just got one tiny dispute with Rep. O’Driscoll. In fact, it isn’t really a dispute. The 4.5% increase figure is being peddled by the Dayton re-election campaign through the Commerce Department. There’s no sense in being polite. The 4.5% figure is fiction. Every real journalist should be highlighting the Dayton campaign’s dishonesty.

Finally, while I agree with Rep. O’Driscoll’s statement that people should “keep a copy of this article” and compare their “new premiums” with the Commerce Department’s 4.5% fiction, I’d additionally suggest that people remember Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s dishonesty in pimping the 4.5% figure. They know it’s intellectually dishonest. They don’t care about honesty when Gov. Dayton and the DFL are trying to win elections.

While there’s no doubt that people think that politicians aren’t the most honest people, there’s no doubt that people should take politicians that are intentionally dishonest to the proverbial woodshed. It’s time to take Gov. Dayton and the dishonest DFL legislators to that woodshed.

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