On Wednesday, Dayton declared the status of the individual insurance market an “emergency” and that the Affordable Care Act was an oxymoron. “Ultimately, the reality is that the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for an increasing number of people,” Dayton told the media. Dayton’s remarks came a week after Bill Clinton admitted that Obamacare was “the craziest thing in the world,” and that consumers “wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half.”
Perhaps Dayton felt that Clinton gave him enough political cover to admit the obvious, but Minnesotans might need to use their coverage to remedy the whiplash from following Dayton’s lead. Three years ago, the governor bragged that the state exchange would have the lowest rates in the nation, thanks in large part to the number of insurers that sold policies without federal control of the marketplace. Those advantages got wiped out a year later when insurers demanded double-digit increases to stick with Mnsure.
The state’s largest insurer in Mnsure did not bother to ask for a rate hike for 2015 – Preferred One shut down its exchange operations instead. At that time, Preferred One had sold 59 percent of the plans purchased through Mnsure but discovered that the business model made it impossible to succeed. Mnsure, they announced, was “not administratively and financially sustainable,” despite all of the happy talk from Dayton and the Obama administration.
Two years later, Preferred One’s point has been validated. State commerce commissioner Mike Rothman approved rate hikes for 2017 that pushed prices 50 to 67 percent higher than 2016’s premiums. That follows price hikes for 2016 of 14 to 49 percent, making it three straight years of beatings for Minnesota consumers on the individual insurance market.