The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 26, 2013

Dayton defends MNsure from critics, potential challengers

ST. PAUL — MNsure is barely three weeks old, and, like President Barack Obama, Gov. Mark Dayton has found himself defending the state's new health insurance marketplace against heavy criticism that their respective exchanges are not working.

Compared to the federal insurance site that 36 states are using, Minnesota's homegrown exchange is in good shape, Dayton said recently.

"Fortunately, we decided to go our own route in Minnesota and the Legislature has supported that," he told reporters. "I think the MNsure beginning has been not perfect. But given the complexity and scope of the project, I think it's performed phenomenally well."

From the outside it appears MNsure has been working better than the federal exchange, although there are still plenty of complaints.

Obama has called for a "tech surge" to get the federal operation on track, while MNsure officials have been making what appear to be smaller-scale adjustments.

Dayton put MNsure on the fast-track when he took office in 2011, but was far from a public cheerleader at the outset. A supporter of a single-payer plan, Dayton called MNsure a "big gamble" earlier this year. He's clearly gotten more comfortable with the plan, but his recent comments are also a response to a brewing political battle over the exchange in next year's gubernatorial race.

Republicans vying to challenge Dayton next year are targeting MNsure. And they're capitalizing on the problems plaguing the federal exchange built by the Obama administration to raise money and to link Dayton to the federal exchange's problems. At an August debate, Dayton's challengers staked out their territory on MNsure.

"In 2015, when I'm governor — what do you do about it? My gut reaction is that you work from day one to eliminate it," said Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Cinema verite documentarian Robert Drew dies at 90 Filmmaker Robert Drew, a pioneer of the modern documentary who in "Primary" and other movies mastered the intimate, spontaneous style known as cinema verite and schooled a generation of influential directors that included D.A. Pennebaker and Albert M

    July 30, 2014

  • Homeowner killed, another injured in Vegas crime spree LAS VEGAS — A horrific carjacking and home invasion spree ended with two people dead and a woman in critical condition. One victim, Richard Ramos, a 59-year-old father of four, “fought to his death” to protect his wife and children from their attack

    July 30, 2014

  • Officer Shooting Minnesota-9 [Duplicate] UPDATE: Suspect in Minnesota officer killing in custody WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Police in Minnesota say a man wanted in the shooting death of an officer is in custody after being shot by police. St. Paul police spokesman Sgt. Paul Paulos says 39-year-old Brian Fitch Sr. got out of a minivan firing at

    July 30, 2014 4 Photos

  • Officer Shooting Minnesota-3 [Duplicate] Minnesota officer killed making traffic stop WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — A police officer in Minnesota was fatally shot Wednesday while making a traffic stop and authorities said they were searching for a suspect. Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick, 47, was shot about 12:20 p.m. after pulli

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Possible suspect caught in Minnesota cop shooting WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — A potential suspect in the shooting of a police officer in Minnesota has been captured. Minnesota Public Radio News reports that the officer was killed. Television news footage showed the man being pulled from his vehicle Wednes

    July 30, 2014

  • Police shooting reported in West St. Paul WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — Police are responding to the reported shooting of an officer in West St. Paul. Details weren't immediately available. Calls from The Associated Press to several police and city departments in the area weren't immediately returne

    July 30, 2014

  • Mars rover Opportunity breaks the off-world driving record Opportunity, the little rover that could, has broken a 41-year-old driving distance record that’s out of this world. The decade-old NASA Mars rover has crossed the 25-mile mark, surpassing the 24.2-mile record held by the Russian moon rover Lunokhod

    July 30, 2014

  • Minnesota officials consider high-speed rail ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota officials are holding public meetings on a proposed high-speed train linking Rochester to the Twin Cities. Transportation planners from state and federal departments are evaluating possibilities for the Zip Rail pas

    July 30, 2014

  • Study finds 5 servings of produce is enough, but we're not eating it How many times will we have to be told? Apparently we haven’t reached the point when we’ll change our habits, but here goes again: Eating five servings of fruits and vegetables every day can help us live longer. That comes from researchers’ analysis

    July 30, 2014

  • GOP gov hopeful Honour wants state spending cap Tells St. Cloud Times he wants a statutory budget cap linked to population and inflation.

    July 29, 2014