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
  • 1 hurt in fiery Twin Cities interstate crash ROSEVILLE, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say one person was hurt in a fiery crash involving four vehicles on a Twin Cities interstate. The crash on Interstate 35 brought morning traffic to a halt during a rainy commute. The Minnesota State Patrol says a

    July 25, 2014

  • Black box found at Air Algerie wreckage site PARIS (AP) — French soldiers recovered a black box from the Air Algerie wreckage site in a desolate region of restive northern Mali on Friday, officials said. Terrorism hasn't been ruled out as a cause, although officials say the most likely reason f

    July 25, 2014

  • Ukraine reports overnight rebel attacks on border MOSCOW (AP) — The Ukrainian army on Friday claimed that soldiers came under artillery fire from the Russian side of the border overnight and were attacked by rebels in several other places in the restive east. Ukrainian forces are trying to close in

    July 25, 2014

  • Deal still elusive for Gaza cease-fire CAIRO (AP) — Turbulent negotiations to broker a temporary truce in the Gaza Strip are continuing against the backdrop of fresh Israeli attacks on Palestinian militants. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met twice Friday in Cairo with U.N. chief Ban

    July 25, 2014

  • Transcript shows concerns during Arizona execution FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake was attending a ceremony for a judicial colleague when he received an urgent — and unusual — request: Lawyers for a condemned inmate wanted him to stop an execution that didn't seem to be workin

    July 25, 2014

  • Sniper-Author-Ventura [Duplicate] Day 3 of deliberations ends in Ventura lawsuit Jury has deliberated 19 hours

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man accused of stealing from group HASTINGS (AP) — An Apple Valley man is charged with five counts of theft for allegedly stealing more than $113,000 from a Rosemount youth athletics group. Sixty-two-year-old Robert Steven Reischauer was the former finance manager of the Rosemount Ar

    July 24, 2014

  • Sanders offers lower-cost bill to reform VA Bill would allow vets to go to private doctors

    July 24, 2014

  • Wetland Loss [Duplicate] Report says Prairie Pothole region losing wetlands BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Federal officials and conservationists say a recent report detailing wetland losses in the five-state Prairie Pothole Region over the past decade highlights the need for increased protection for the region that provides breeding

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • France: Air Algerie flight vanishes over N Mali ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital disappeared from radar early Thursday over northern Mali, the plane's owner and a French government official said. Air navigation services lost

    July 24, 2014