In a scathing MNsure audit summarized below, the Office of the Legislative Auditor blasted the health exchange for its failures:
We concluded that MNsure’s failures outweighed its achievements in its first year of operations. There were widespread problems with MNsure’s online enrollment system and customer service, causing difficulties for consumers, insurers, counties, and the Department of Human Services. We recommend changes in statutory governance provisions for MNsure and the enrollment system it created.
Among other findings, the MNsure audit revealed that enrollment projections for publicly subsidized plans were set unrealistically low, and that overall enrollment would have fallen far short if targets were set correctly. The audit also found that MNsure had serious problems with readiness prior to launch, but ignored “red flags.” This led to applications getting stuck in the system, problems adding newborn babies to family coverage, and significant technical problems that added hours of hassle to what should have been a simple enrollment process. In short, the promise that MNsure would be the Travelocity of insurance marketplaces was never realized.
Gov. Dayton responded to the audit informally when asked by the press, saying “the buck stops with me,” but did not offer solutions to MNsure’s ongoing problems.
Dayton said he supports making MNsure a state agency because “I got blamed for everything” anyway. Said ultimately the “buck stops with me.”
— Briana Bierschbach (@bbierschbach) February 17, 2015
“The buck stops with me” Dayton says on MNsure. #mnleg
— R. Stassen-Berger (@RachelSB) February 17, 2015
Senator Michelle Benson, Republican lead on the Health and Human Services committee, reacted with this statement:
“Today we have another independent report critical of Gov. Dayton’s MNsure program. ‘The buck stops with me’ is a platitude, not a plan. Minnesotans need to hear a specific solution from Gov. Dayton to fix MNsure before it hurts more Minnesotans. Or they need to hear a plan to cut our losses, salvage what we can from the $180 million already spent, and get back to work making healthcare more affordable and available to Minnesota families.
Everyone knows the system needs strategic change to meet the needs of Minnesotans. Senate Republicans released a detailed plan last week that refocuses the state and counties on serving people in need, while setting up a much smaller organization to handle private insurance. Our plan will also bring accountability and transparency to MNsure and its board.
Governor Dayton needs to know that more spending is not a strategy.”