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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One Response to “Tim O’Driscoll exposes Dayton’s, DFL’s MNsure Myth”

  • walter hanson says:

    Gary:

    I think you should ad read my post about Al Franken and how he wants to restrict free speech to show why government isn’t honest and we need to have real free speech.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

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