Obamacare in one state

Unfortunately for the people of Minnesota, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton had a free hand adopting Obamacare in Minnesota, and Minnesota has gone all in. Courtesy of Governor Dayton and a Democratic legislature, we have bought into the Medicaid expansion and all the rest.

In Minnesota the Obamacare set-up runs under the rubric of MNsure. I wonder how many voters know that Minnesota has adopted Obamacare and that MNsure, c’est ça. My guess: not many.

Why does Minnesota needs its own Obamacare exchange? Minnesota Public Radio helpfully explains: “Supporters of Minnesota building its own exchange argued that Minnesota could build a system that benefitted from the state’s long history of health care policy innovation and cost containment. They also maintained that Minnesota would wind up with an exchange tailored to the needs of state residents rather than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ federal exchange.”

State officials have had the usual problems getting the system up and running. The site has performed poorly. Paying its own tribute to the beauty of “diversity,” it has been deficient in diverse respects.

The Star Tribune reports on the failure of the small group aspect of the program to take off as expected: “The government-run marketplace was expected to cover 155,000 people in small group plans by next year. That number was 1,405 earlier this month.”

Wow. It sounds like we may need to put MNsure’s small group business on a Soviet-style five-year plan to increase productivity.

Quotable quote (Katie Burns, MNsure chief operating officer): “We agree that [enrollment is] modest at this point, but there’s opportunity for growth.”