Rep. Nick Zerwas' column
Thu, 10/24/2013 - 11:00pm admin
Into the month of October, MNsure – the Minnesota arm of Obamacare – began enrolling Minnesotans into insurance programs. Whether you have liked Obamacare from the beginning or have opposed it, all Minnesotans should have serious concerns about the actions of MNsure and whether it’s fully prepared to serve the people of our state.
As the legislature was debating the proposal to create a state healthcare exchange – now known as MNsure – I argued that one of the major flaws of the legislation is lack of adequate data privacy safeguards. Just a few weeks ago, my concerns regrettably became reality when MNsure officials confirmed that one of their employees had inadvertently sent a document containing the private information – including names, addresses, and social security numbers – of over 1,000 insurance agents to an insurance broker’s office in Apple Valley. While MNsure officials claim they’ve addressed the problem, it does little to alleviate the unease I have about MNsure’s ability to keep Minnesotans’ private and personal information secure.
Because of this breach of security, Minnesota’s non-partisan legislative auditor has stated publicly that MNsure is moving too quickly and is now conducting an investigation to identify what caused this problem. Even more disturbing is that MNsure failed to comply with the law once it discovered it had released the confidential information by not informing the legislative auditor of the incident. Instead, the legislative auditor learned of the incident from the news.
While MNsure’s stated goal is to enroll 1.3 million Minnesotans into insurance programs, the executive director of this new government-organized healthcare bureaucracy told a legislative panel just a week before MNsure’s launch that zero “navigators” have completed training to help consumers enroll in coverage. “Navigators” are individuals such as insurance agents or county workers designated to help Minnesotans find their way through this complex new healthcare system. Allowing such critical training to become a last minute endeavor only puts the critical need for healthcare at greater risk for Minnesotans.
A government agency tasked with providing Minnesotans with healthcare coverage should not be conducting itself in such a haphazard way. Given the major security breach of the private information of over a thousand Minnesotans, the failure to follow the law, and the lack of preparedness, I remain unconvinced that MNsure is ready for prime time.
State Rep. Nick Zerwas
303 State Office Building
100 Martin Luther King Jr
St. Paul, MN 55155