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Letter: 'Costly debacle' of MNsure must cease

Recently, the Minnesota Department of Commerce alerted residents and families who obtain health insurance through MNsure that they can expect to pay significantly more in premium costs. I have heard outrage from a number of them.

According to the department, the average rate increases will range from 14 percent to 49 percent. The highest average rate increase comes from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, the state’s largest insurer. These massive cost increases are largely a direct result of Obamacare mandates forced upon our state and the enormous price tag for MNsure.

I share the goal of getting people insured. However, MNsure has been nothing more than a costly debacle. We’ve wasted hundreds of millions on a program in order to make health insurance affordable, and the people who are obtaining health insurance through this program have now learned their premiums are more unaffordable.

What will these changes mean for area residents who purchase health insurance from MNsure? According to the commerce department, the average premium in southwestern Minnesota will rise by $120 per month for a 25-year-old; $154 per month for a 40-year-old; $326 per month for a 60-year-old; and $542 per month for a family of four.

Families I know who use MNsure can’t afford $6,500 on rising health insurance premiums.

During the 2015 Legislative Session, House Republicans passed legislation that would improve transparency and lower rates by increasing health insurance access and competition. Legislative Democrats, however, refused to support larger reforms despite the Dayton administration’s fiscal estimate showing tremendous savings for taxpayers.

Minnesotans are experiencing financial pain and they need us to act. Ignoring the problem can no longer be an option.