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MNSure not ready for prime time

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By State Rep. Mary Franson,

R-Alexandria, MN

Do you remember when then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the liberal congresswoman from San Francisco, told an audience that she had to pass Obamacare so we, the American public, could find out what’s in it? Well, here in Minnesota, we’ve had front row seats as the unpleasantries of Obamacare have been unveiled.

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Recently, we found out that an employee of MNsure, the Minnesota arm of Obamacare, inadvertently sent a document containing the private information, including names, addresses and Social Security numbers, of 2,400 agents to an Apple Valley insurance broker. While MNsure officials claim they’ve taken care of the issue, it does little to bolster my confidence that the personal information of the 1.3 million Minnesotans that MNsure seeks to enroll will be kept secure.

I’m also disturbed that MNsure awarded a taxpayer-funded grant to Planned Parenthood. In an effort to help promote enrollment, MNsure named 30 “trusted community organizations” as recipients of publicly-funded grants to provide assistance to those applying for health insurance through this new government-organized health care bureaucracy. It’s truly disheartening that the largest abortion provider in Minnesota would be receiving a share of this $4 million grant of taxpayer dollars, especially in light of the fact that we worked in a bipartisan way in the House to place a priority on protecting unborn life under the MNsure exchange. I strongly supported three pro-life amendments during the debate on the Health and Human Services bill including one provision that would have banned funding for abortion in plans sold on the exchange. Unfortunately, the Democrat-controlled conference committee stripped the legislation of its pro-life protections.

Among the other “trusted community organizations” named to receive a taxpayer-subsidized grant is a group called Lyon-Dugin and Associates. The Star Tribune reported that the head of this particular organization waved a shotgun at a Wisconsin deputy during a traffic stop in 2011. MNsure officials later explained this embarrassment by saying their vetting process of grant recipients has yet to be fully completed; as if that justification were sufficient to provide the rest of us comfort.

In addition to the vast privacy issues I have relating to Obamacare, I’m concerned that the ability to keep your own healthcare plan is at risk. For example, many hardworking members of labor unions have come forward with concerns that Obamacare would destroy their health benefits. Because of the law’s mandate on employers, many small businesses are actually incentivized by the penalties of Obamacare to reduce the number of work hours for employees since employers are not required to provide health coverage to part-time workers. Fewer dollars in your pocket and no health care coverage? “Change” never seemed so unaffordable.

While the October 1 deadline for MNsure to begin enrollment is fast approaching, the monstrosity of problems this government health care bureaucracy is imposing upon us continues to grow. With the security breach, poor judgment exercised by MNsure officials, the great risk involved with the handling of citizens’ private and personal information, and the higher costs burdening hardworking taxpayers, I believe it’s fair to say that MNsure is not ready for prime time.

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