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Letter: MNsure, Obamacare enrollment

Recent media coverage of MNsure’s insurance exchange sign-ups for Obamacare quoted officials as stating, “They exceeded their goals for the initial open enrollment period.” A close examination of relevant sign-up data indicates this proclamation of success is both misleading and inaccurate. The sign-up scorecard based on four MNsure goals established October 16, 2013 is as follows: Individual (private pay) goal 69,904; sign-ups 47,046; accomplishment 67.3 percent, MinnesotaCare (subsidized pay) goal 44,084; sign-ups 34,219; accomplishment 77.6 percent, medical assistance (taxpayer funded Medicaid) goal 12,240, sign-ups 87,986; accomplishment 718.8 percent, small business (private pay) goal 8,925; sign-ups 693; accomplishment 0.8 percent. These facts paint a dramatically different picture of success.

MNsure, in fact, failed to accomplish three out of four important enrollment objectives. MNsure’s failure to achieve a sufficient level of “private pay” sign-ups should be a huge “wake-up” call for Governor Dayton and Legislative leaders on both sides of the political aisle. Exacerbating this problem is the additional public funding requirement to cover the “Medicaid” sign-ups which exceeded the initial projection by a whopping 718 percent. These data lead to the obvious long term viability question. Without sufficient “private pay” subscribers, where will the money come from to cover approximately 170,000 total health care subscribers? Clearly, this is a very serious long term funding issue which must be addressed by political leaders of all stripes.

It is widely recognized that Obamacare cannot achieve financial viability without enrollment by young, healthy, private pay individuals. This is not happening due to widespread opposition to insurance mandates and high cost policies. Additionally, approximately two thirds of the initial private pay enrollments are replacements for policies cancelled due to Obamacare mandated provisions.

Minnesota taxpayers deserve answers based on facts rather than the “perfume the pig” rhetoric being communicated by MNsure officials and Obamacare advocates. This problem will not go away without major legislative reform actions. It is time to voice your opinion to your elected representatives. Demand corrective action and/or replacement by a more common sense affordable plan.

A.L. Kleinke