Even for Mark Dayton, this is a remarkable retreat. Last week Dayton refused to have one of his aides testify to a legislative panel investigating the MNSure debacle and exactly when the governor and his team knew of the massive problems in the state’s ObamaCare exchange. He held a press conference last week to accuse Republicans of ignoring all of the improvements in MNSure and how his team brought the system under control after the problems of “months ago”:
Seven days later, the Dayton administration threw in the towel and admitted that MNSure can’t manage itself:
After fumbling the job for more than a year, MNsure has hired an experienced IT company to coordinate the complex work needed to finish and repair its troubled health insurance exchange.
Deloitte Consulting is scheduled Wednesday to present its plans for moving the online marketplace forward during MNsure’s board of directors meeting. It isn’t clear how much the contract with Deloitte is worth, but MNsure’s preliminary budget earmarked at least $10 million for technical work this year.
The hiring of an outside company reflects a grudging recognition that MNsure is not capable of managing the project, a concern recently voiced by its independent auditor. The state agency was created to enroll uninsured Minnesotans as part of the Affordable Care Act, but its efforts have been hampered by a troublesome website that has frustrated thousands of would-be enrollees.
MNsure has “compartmentalized” tasks to such a degree that it cannot make sure the most important work is getting done first, leading to lingering website problems and “poor customer satisfaction,” according Software Engineering Services (SES) of Bellevue, Neb.
Overall, MNsure failed to make progress on 15 of 44 outstanding issues, worse than any previous quarter, according to the March 20 report. SES concluded that Minnesota “is unable to effectively manage the project.”
“Smooth sailing,” eh? Not only have the problems not stopped, performance has actually gotten worse since Dayton claimed to have become aware of MNSure’s performance issues. No wonder the board wants to wash its hands of its own mess.
Here’s a question, then: If government is unable to manage this market and it has to be outsourced to the private sector, why did we create ObamaCare in the first place? Why didn’t we just leave it to the private sector all along? Perhaps Governor Dayton and other Democrats in Minnesota will answer that question. I suspect they’ll be outsourcing their accountability, too.