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LETTER: Sen. Kent should offer fixes, answer for MnSure's failures

Bad news for MnSure: the recent Office of the Legislative Auditor’s report explicitly states that the state has spent millions on a program that, to put it charitably, has not lived up to expectations. 

Specifically, the auditor’s report bluntly asserted that “in its first year of operation, MnSure’s failures outweighed its achievements …” The report also pointed out that only 15 percent of MnSure’s enrollees had signed up for commercial health insurance plans with the remaining 85 percent signing up for various public programs. Worse, the projected number of previously uninjured enrollees was significantly overstated (e.g. 72 percent said that they already had coverage).

Not surprisingly, customer service was notably poor. The OLA found, for example, that 58 percent of MnSure enrollees spent at least four hours signing up and that 75 percent encountered substantive technical problems. There were uncorrectable glitches, including a major flaw that precluded the correction or updating of birth, marriage or income information.

Is this what we got for an outlay of more than $150 million? Boondoggle anyone?

Obviously then, the MnSure house needs to be cleaned up. And soon. 

Senate Republicans, recognizing the need for rompt action, have proposed numerous reforms, including repurposing MnSure software to the department of human services, providing appointment of health care experts to the MnSure board and – most importantly – ensuring that all health care plans are offered and treated equally.

But what of state Sen. Kent? As an enthusiastic proponent of the original MnSure plan, she should be able to offer some helpful suggestions. So where are they? Many of us would like to hear from her. Or maybe she will duck out by blaming the mess on the actions of previous governors. Maybe Gov. Ramsey is to blame.

Bottom line: let’s hear from you, Senator. Loud and clear.

Thomas St. Martin