Should Minnesota scrap the MNsure website?

An “independent consultant has issued a damning report of the state’s troubled online insurance marketplace,” write MPR News reporters Catharine Richert and Elizabeth Stawicki.

MNsure’s management structure is “non-existent” according to Optum, a subsidiary of Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group, which recently performed a week-long analysis of the more than $100 million website.

MNsure executives have been making decisions in a “crisis mode,” the report states.

MNsure’s board members called for the end-to-end review after the website continued to experience major technological issues three months after it launched.

The report found the agency’s ambitious enrollment goals will suffer as a result.

“While MNsure will fall short of achieving its original enrollment goals and consumer satisfaction levels, continuous improvements can be made in both the short-term and long-term,” the report states.

Those problems, however, won’t be fixed quickly and the state should consider scrapping the system altogether and starting over, the report said.

MPR News blogger Bob Collins has a critical view of the politics behind MNsure.

Today’s Question: Should Minnesota scrap the MNsure website?

  • AndyBriebart

    Just waiting for the fist person to say we have to double down on stupid and propose single payer.

    • Yanotha Twangai

      You’d rather we double down on stupid by turning our health care system over to the jungle rules of the amoral free market?

    • Sue de Nim

      What’s stupid is not learning from the experiences of other countries, where they’re getting overall better health care outcomes at much lower cost with strategies like single payer (isolated horror stories notwithstanding).

    • JQP

      how about the 234 millionth.
      shouldn’t be too long now.

  • Kelli W

    So, we finally make some progress on health care for all in MN – especially for those like myself that own a small business- one of the first states to do so- and because of some setbacks and negative criticism we are considering starting over? Why not spend the money we would use in starting over by actually fixing & fine tuning the current process just briefly put in place? Give it time to work itself out and work on fixing the problem areas.

  • J F Hanson

    All four of the comments posted so far simply don’t address the issue–that the state government leadership, in all its glorious ineptitude, spent $100 million or so (and climbing) on a software “solution” that its politicians wanted. The result has been a conservative’s dream of political decision, political influence, and sheer Political incompetence, from the Dear Leader on the federal level on down to Chairman Dayton’s on the State Level.

    Of course they should scrap it–and probably start over–and, do it as a long-term project to keep the elected politicians’ hands off it.

    But that work should begin only after these same politicians fund a project to provide for effective management of such a project.

    • Yanotha Twangai

      And how do you propose to “keep the elected politicians’ hands off it”? Appoint a dictator? What unelected authority would you trust to lead such a “project”?

      • JQP

        eliminate the political appointment of civil service positions.
        once the elected officials only control is budget and coherent laws… they’ll settle down.

        right now … they write ambiguous laws and then insert into and “they” know what to do winkity winkity winkity

      • J F Hanson

        I’m convinced that a tightly-defined and trained in the skills needed civil service manager could do this if a firewall can be built to prevent political interference.

        The press could–such as MPR, were it to cease being a politically-liberal cheering squad on this issue–well serve as the watchdog.

  • Gary F

    I’m still wondering why the Minnesota media has finally reported this? They have kinda been accomplices to this disaster all along by not giving any of this the scrutiny that real unbiased journalists should be doing. Just think if they expended the effort that is currently happening in the Chris Christy scandal and asked tough questions and held people accountable? And you wonder why people call MPR and the Star Tribune biased?

    Just think, in the next month or so, the MN legislature will convene and they will want to spend, spend, spend, that projected surplus and give us more of this crap.

  • Rich in Duluth

    No, it’s complex software. Have the contractor fix it and withhold payments until it’s working correctly.

    The people in this state and country don’t need health insurance; they need health care. Obviously, health insurance adds a layer of expensive complexity for which we get nothing. I’ll say it, we need Medicare for everyone, where you go to the doctor and she sends the bill to Medicare…no insurance company taking money from the system for nothing in return.

    I’m now on Medicare and it works great…and the web site works great.

    • J F Hanson

      I concur with what you say, but we cannot overlook the very real problems in Medicare–the fee scale should reflect honest reimbursement, not political chicanery, the fundamental design flaw of paying without consequence for every test has to be removed, and the level of fraud–and related incompetent oversight should be fixed.

      But as it stands, I would feel guilty running only on Medicare without adjunct insurance.

      And Obozo wants to double the rate next year–remember that.

  • Jim G

    A very close relative is an IT project manager/ business analyst. What I have learned about IT projects from living with this close relative is that it is imperative to get the Requirements portion of the Project Management Process right before you start building any software application or website. It looks as if that basic project manager/ business analyst skills were not employed by whoever was in charge of building the MNsure website.

    Yes, if we want to get this website working smoothly, go back to the Requirements needed for the functionality of the site. Start over, and do it correctly.

    • J F Hanson

      Lock those in and then lock the politicians out. It will slow down the never-ending spin from those fools.

  • R RS

    Don’t scrap it, just fix it.