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Guest Opinion: Let's see where people stand on MNsure now

The first order of business when the 2016 Legislative session begins March 8 should be a vote on whether to continue Minnesota's government-run Obamacare website, MNsure.

The first order of business when the 2016 Legislative session begins March 8 should be a vote on whether to continue Minnesota's government-run Obamacare website, MNsure.

More than three years into development, MNsure remains unable to fulfill its primary mission: providing access to affordable health insurance. It can't even send your applications to an insurer without major problems.

After Democrats in St. Paul embraced Obamacare in Minnesota and spent over $300 million on MNsure, what do we have to show for it? Premiums are up again-42 percent statewide. In just two years, the average family of four buying an insurance policy with modest benefits in our area has seen their premium increase by $326 per month.

People have been forced off their policies, separated from their doctors and lost huge chunks of their paychecks. All the while, bonuses were paid to MNsure executives, the website remains dysfunctional, and it will cost an additional $100 million or more in the next two years.

It begs the question: Is it worth continuing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a broken website when there are better ways of providing access to private and public insurance?

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My answer remains a simple "no," and taxpayers deserve this issue to be revisited on the House floor as a single subject, free from the ambiguity of omnibus legislation. A House vote on MNsure would allow advocates to explain why they want to waste more of your money on broken promises and a failed system.

Remember when they hyped MNsure as the Travelocity of health insurance that would save the average family $500 per year? We don't hear much from the liberal architects of Obamacare in Minnesota anymore.

How bad is it? MNsure is on its third CEO in three years. A recent federal audit identified MNsure as one of the worst-run state exchanges, one of only two states to have IT functions graded as "not operational." Private enrollment is more than 80 percent below original projections, resulting in significant financial instability. National surveys found the vast majority of those who did enroll in exchanges already had insurance, meaning Democrats probably spent over $300 million to sign up less than 15,000 in private insurance for the first time.

Republicans have offered alternatives-including letting people get the federal tax credit and buy health insurance wherever is easiest for them-in an effort to give some relief to families struggling with massive premium hikes. Instead of embracing reforms, Democrats have pulled down their blinders even tighter, unwilling to acknowledge MNsure's structural flaws.

Those mistakes are now costing citizens. Legislators from both sides of the aisle continue receiving scores of calls and letters from constituents with concerns about affordability and access. Some say this government experiment with the health of Minnesotans has lasted long enough and that we should quit chasing good money after bad. I agree and am advocating for the House to vote on this matter as soon as possible when the 2016 session begins.

Rep. Mark Anderson, R-Lake Shore, represents Minnesota House District 9A

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