Minnesota may be mired in a deep freeze, but the politics around the state’s ObamaCare launch is about to get red-hot. The state’s “top watchdog over state government spending” has now demanded a complete audit of MNSure, and not just for its problem-plagued web portal. Citing “many red flags,” Jim Nobles wants a full audit to be the legislature’s highest priority when it reconvenes next month (via Andrew Johnson at The Corner):
Minnesota Legislative Auditor James Nobles tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS “MNsure has many red flags causing great concern and I would like my auditors to conduct a comprehensive audit of the program because it does not appear to be delivering what it promised to taxpayers.”
Nobles says everything at MNsure needs a “close examination” from the computer system to what the health care exchange is actually delivering to taxpayers and consumers. Nobles says there are computer problems at MNsure that have occurred in the past and, he says, “it does not look like we have learned from our mistakes.”
Nobles says MNsure, like any other state agency, needs transparency and accountability so “the taxpayers and public have confidence in the system.” Nobles says he plans to ask the Legislative Audit Commission for permission to audit MNsure and it will be his “top priority when the Legislature convenes next month.”
For those who wonder, the legislature is controlled by Democrats, but that has little to do with Nobles. He has served for 30 years as the legislative auditor while the legislature was under the control of both parties, and recently got appointed to a sixth six-year term. He’s known for keeping politics out of his work, which means that Democrats will not be easily able to disregard his recommendations for a “top-to-bottom” audit of MNSure.
It’s not the first time Nobles has slapped at MNSure, either. In November, he concluded that the agency itself was responsible for the collection and release of Social Security information for insurance brokers licensed in the state’s ObamaCare agency, and blew the lid off of the mismanagement that has become obvious since the rollout. That eventually resulted in the resignation of MNSure’s top officer, who was then replaced temporarily by another Dayton official who was under investigation for his own dealings in the health-insurance sector.
I wonder what Nobles will make of that. I also wonder whether the legislature will authorize him to make anything of it at all.