Posted: 04/08/14 20:15
by Dave Mindeman
I fully understand the frustration Governor Dayton must feel. The plethora of Republican candidates looking to take his job are falling all over themselves to find an issue against him.
After all, the economy is great. The budget is in surplus. Minimum wage is going up. Property taxes are going down. Business is getting more tax breaks. The school shift has been repaid. On and on and on. What's a Republican to do? Well, they think they have a winner in MNsure.
And yes, this is an issue that needs to be addressed.
It is noted that the legislative committees involved want to press on for hearings to find out what the problems were....especially after the Star Tribune published a time line of problems prior to the exchange going live.
Now, it's not like Gov. Dayton hasn't taken responsibility for the problems. He is ultimately in charge and he has said so. But I think he has gotten frustrated by the unrelenting discussions about what happened. Especially in light of the fact that nobody is talking about the solutions or the fact that 175,000 people DID get insurance.
So, I think Dayton is allowed a moment of venting...
During a news conference Tuesday, Dayton said Republicans are "making a mockery of the word oversight" and engaging in a "propaganda campaign" aimed at destroying MNsure.
"It is really irresponsible," Dayton said. "The fact that they can pretend this is part of the oversight process is just ludicrous. They want to trash MNsure. ... They want MNsure to fail."
I think that after thinking about all of this for a bit of reflection, Governor Dayton will reassess and give the committee access to his staff and let the testimony go forward.
We do need to understand what happened at MNsure. It was a huge problem and the citizens of Minnesota deserve to know why they were left on hold for hours and why applications were bungled - especially in the early going.
I think it is also time that April Todd-Malmlov starts talking....
Legislative Auditor James Nobles, who is conducting a review of MNsure, said Todd-Malmlov has so far declined to discuss her stewardship of the agency. Nobles said he will take the unusual step of issuing a subpoena and using the courts to compel her testimony if she does not come in voluntarily for an interview. Nobles will ask legislators today to to approve his request to broaden the scope of his MNsure investigation.
The Star Tribune article seems to come back to Todd-Malmlov often. She withheld vital information. Did not keep the board informed. She did not understand or look into here alternatives. From the Tribune article, I think it is fair to say that she botched it. Maybe leaving the post was enough at the time, but with all the new information, she needs to explain. Really explain.
Nobles and the legislative committees need to subpoena her and compel her to testify. All information leads to her and she cannot wash her hands of the responsibility.
But let's also remember the other side of this:
The problems were in the technology. The law itself was fine. The law itself did its job. People got healthcare. They got affordable health care. Now that this initial phase is over and the crush of people have gotten through to make the applications and select their plans - we can safely say that MNsure, the law - worked.
People were frustrated but they do have health care. People were annoyed but they do have health care. People deserved better in the implementation but they do have health care.
So - if our Republican ideologues can look at this with some perspective, then by all means - hold your hearings and find out what the problems were.
And then let's move on and let the Governor get back to the excellent job he is doing for the state of Minnesota.