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MNsure, Mark Dayton and the middle class meltdown

This weekend, the St. Cloud Times published this letter to the editor from Ted Plombon, the president of Advantage 1 Insurance in St. Cloud. In the editorial, Plombon explained how the number of uninsured people in Minnesota dropped rather dramatically:

The authors of the report took data from Sept. 30, 2013 and May 1, 2014. Their finding was that there was a drop of 180,500 of uninsured people in Minnesota or 40.6 percent. However, the drop was primarily driven by an increase in the number of Minnesotans who enrolled in the state's health insurance programs, Medical Assistance (Medicaid) and Minnesota Care. Of the 180,500 newly insured, over 155,000 were enrolled in these two taxpayer programs.

This is possible because Obamacare expands the eligibility for Medicaid. That equates to less than 25,000 insureds who actually purchased private health plans through MNsure. Most of those plans were also subsidized by you and I, the taxpayers.

This morning, in an exclusive interview with, Plombon went into detail about what's happening with insurance premiums. What Mr. Plombon said is that some people who get their insurance through the small group market are renewing their policies. Thus far, Advantage 1 has seen these clients' premiums increase from as 'little' as 30% to as much as 106%.

Plombon said that people who got a deferral from Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act, are people usually described as millenial or invincibles. Thanks to a provision in the ACA called community rating, these young people will see their premiums spike because they're essentially paying for the subsidies for older, less healthy people.

Another thing that Plombon talked about during the exclusive interview is that the Legislature passed a $400,000,000 bailout of MNsure in the last days of the 2014 session. That isn't a solution to the problem, he warned, saying that it's really just a temporary patch.

When asked if taxing "the rich", to use Gov. Dayton's term, would be enough to pay for the next bailout, Plombon said he'd doubt that it would. That means the next MNsure bailout would include a massive middle class tax increase.

There was little doubt in Plombon's mind that a) the next bailout would be bigger than the bailout quietly passed by this year's legislature and b) young, healthy people would choose to not buy insurance if the rates spike as expected. That's why a major tax increase would be needed.

There's no question that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act isn't living up to its title. With rates spiking the way that they are, the bill's title is totally dishonest.

MNsure/Obamacare/Affordable Care Act is making things worse for Minnesota's taxpayers, not better. That's why the DFL will have difficulty with this issue this election season.

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