An Open Letter to MNSure by Max Rymer

The following has been adapted from an opinion piece that Max Rymer, our 49B candidate for the Minnesota House, posted on his campaign website: 

Dear MNSure,

In typical millennial fashion, I am writing you an open letter. Not because I have something I want to say directly to you, but because I want to make a point to everyone else reading it.

MNSure, last weekend I knocked a low-income housing unit in Bloomington. I talked to a young man, Jerell, who had been on Minnesota Medical Assistance for the better part of a decade. He informed me that, since your inception, he had seen his own costs go up and his benefits go down. Jerell had a number of medical issues, was also on disability, and had preexisting-type conditions that disqualified him from a number of private-insurance options.

MNSure, this confused me.

This man would have and should have been one of the biggest benefactors of the supposed 95% of people who now have affordable coverage.

But he wasn’t.

You see, MNSure, most of the middle-class folks I talk to in my district have seen their premiums rise unsustainably, their deductibles grow to a cost level that 3 cash-based ER visits a year still would not justify, and their benefits go down dramatically. This was confirmed once again today from hard numbers – as the Department of Commerce announced that final MNsure rates will rise up to 67 percent and that they have approved enrollment caps limiting Minnesotans’ access to federal financial assistance and ability to find health care coverage. Rate increases are on top of previous hikes of up to 17 percent and 49 percent in the past two years. Over 75 percent of people who buy health insurance on their own do not receive any financial assistance from you, which seems to undermine your claim that tax credits will outweigh the expense forced upon most families, entrepreneurs, and contributors to society. All the while benefits are decreasing, insurers are abandoning you, and your operating costs are bloated.

MNSure, your website cost alone has ballooned to over $300,000,000.

You’ve spent over $270,000,000 on people who were not even eligible. You were repeatedly denied more oversight until this year. Your average wait times and customer service would make Time Warner Cable blush. And the worst part, MNSure, is you have not lived up to the promise, for 95% of the people who’ve interacted with you, to make healthcare more affordable. You are a contributor to the high barrier to entry for entrepreneurs and another regulation that’s helping the middle class disappear. You have been broken since day one. And MNSure, your executives did not deserve bonuses.

But, MNSure, I don’t blame you.

You are just a series of insurer matches, jquery strings, call staff, and HTML. I know our governor and his legislative allies in the state had to create and claim you for political gain. Then deny the gravity of your failures repeatedly for four years for the same reasons. It’s not your fault.

But MNSure, I think of guys like Jerell: a person you were supposed to be helping. Why have his costs not gone down? Why has his health plan gotten worse? Who are you helping?

I know you don’t have an answer, MNSure. Save for a few politically-motivated bureaucrats, most people know you don’t have an answer. It’s just that Minnesota has a legacy of amazing healthcare, and we should be looking at patient-driven solutions to drive down the cost of healthcare – instead of your wretched mess. And those pre-existing conditions you were supposed to help take care of; well, we can simply revive the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association and form a stronger partnership with them to take care of those who need coverage. MNSure, you and Minnesota have been in a conflicting relationship from day one.

And I hate to be the one to tell you:

But it’s time for us to break up.

Yours for hopefully a short period of time,

Max Rymer