According to a new report from the Center of the American Experiment, taxpayers are being soaked for millions of dollars a year on their property tax bills because of the ongoing problems and issues with MNSure, Minnesota’s state health insurance exchange.
The Center’s article states that the hidden cost is borne by MN counties to compensate for the inefficiencies and software failures of MNSure’s dysfunctional IT system.
Dakota County Commissioner Mary Liz Holberg told the Center of the American Experiment, “This has been a huge unfunded mandate on the counties. Once again, we are cleaning up the state’s mess.”
State officials promised the system would make the process of enrolling and verifying participants faster and less expensive, but in reality, the people who work for the county to verify eligibility complain the malfunctioning IT system hasn’t worked well since MNSure went live three years ago and is getting worse.
The system, which is officially called the Minnesota Eligibility and Technology System (METS), requires more work determining case eligibility and overall maintenance than the former system, a recent Hennepin County Board report states.
The Minnesota Association of Counties estimates MN taxpayers spent an additional $27 Million annually to work around the flawed METS system.
Olmsted County Commissioner Sheila Kiscaden testified before the MNSure Legislative Oversight Committee and said, “We really need to look at the hidden cost of administering METS and the consequence to the taxpayer. We are in the midst of working on our truth in taxation hearings and our county budgets and all over the state counties are adding staff.
This year alone, county government added nearly 250 extra eligibility workers to their payrolls throughout the state, resulting in new property tax levies rising across the state.
Olmsted County is requesting a 2.5% tax levy, a third of which is estimated to help cover the new costs MNSure is creating.
In Pennington County, the MNSure cost overruns add up to about 2% of its tax levy request, which the Center of the American Experiment notes is significant when you are dealing with a county with a total population of only 15,000 people.
Pennington County Commissioner Darryl Tveitbakk told the Center, “It seems if the state or the feds try to provide this kind of service, it’s always difficult to deal with and more expensive than it needs to be.”Last week, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton confirmed what many had already known, “the reality of the Affordable Care Act is that it is no longer affordable increasing numbers of people.”