There weren’t a lot of surprises in yesterday’s Star Tribune report examining how the state so botched the initial rollout of the MNsure health exchange website last October. The level of incompetence — if not outright deceit — was already pretty obvious.
It mirrored a similar analysis by MPR reporters Elizabeth Stawicki and Catharine Richert, both leaving reasonable people asking how some people get important jobs with the state.
But there’s still plenty of head scratching to go around as it becomes more obvious that people tried to fake their way through the rollout, that they knew the site was flawed, and yet nobody seemed to have the courage and honesty to say something to avoid the train wreck that took months to clean up.
April Todd-Malmlov, the deposed project manager, granted her first interview and said the decision to launch in the face of pending disaster was made jointly by her, the governor’s office, and the human services commissioner. She had reportedly told the governor of the site’s flaws in mid-September, after allegedly telling him for months that things were fine.
Todd-Malmlov said she didn’t mislead anybody, but the human services commissioner was the only person who knew just how bad the site’s problems were, the Star Tribune reported. And nobody, apparently,told the MNsure’s board of directors, the group that was supposed to be overseeing the whole operation.
For that, the blame falls on Todd-Malmov, who never shared the warning signs with the board. “Are there things I would have done differently? Yeah, there are,” she told the paper.
She reportedly said it never occurred to her to tell the board. That statement requires a certain suspension of disbelief.
Here’s the thing: A few days after delivering bad news to the governor, many of the same people were testifying before a legislative oversight committee.
“Is it ready?” asked Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights.
“We are planning to go live on October 1st,” Todd-Malmov said. “Yes, we absolutely feel very confident about the system.”
And that’s how you mislead someone.