Should Minnesota dump the MNsure website?

This should be a serious consideration … . Elizabeth Stawicki at MPR says, “… despite the seriously hobbled website, various workarounds, including lots of manually filled out paper applications, allowed a quarter of a million people to enroll in a health plan and reduce the number of Minnesotans who have no coverage by 41 percent. Could Minnesota have achieved those results without the troubled website? Yes, said Dannette Coleman, a senior executive with the Medica health plan. She said the Affordable Care Act’s provision of marketing campaigns, one-on-one assistance from so-called ‘navigators,’ and a more expansive Medicaid program played key roles.”

The “urban village” via “transit-oriented development” dream for University and Snelling won’t be cheap. Frederick Melo of the PiPress says, “consultants found a $22 million to $31 million gap between today’s market value of the site and the cost of necessary new infrastructure, including $40 million in needed structured parking, as the land is redeveloped in phases. The report encourages a mix of building types and uses, most of them at least four stories tall, with open spaces and pedestrian amenities to create the feel of an urban village. It suggests a variety of approaches to close the funding gap, including tax-increment financing and grants and loans.”

Minnesota firefighters are heading out to Colorado to help with the search for a father and son missing since April. The AP says, “Family spokeswoman Andrea Bouzara says they’re going to start a last push Tuesday to recover the remains. She says four firefighters from St. Louis Park, Edina and Eden Prairie have volunteered to go.”

These are serious numbers … . Stribber Jennifer Brooks: “One out of every four crashes on Minnesota roads is caused by drivers who weren’t watching the road. Distracted drivers caused more than 17,500 crashes last year, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, and were responsible for 63 deaths. Each crash happened in the split second it takes to glance at a phone, or a radio dial, or the kids in the back seat.”

Remember last winter? Remember last winter’s propane price spike? Kevin Hall of the McClatchy News Service says, “Congress and the Obama administration are studying a possible strategic propane reserve, to function like the ones for crude oil and home heating oil. … [Steve] Ahrens, executive director of the Missouri Propane Gas Association, said he’d like to see more storage as a buffer and closer oversight of supplies and pricing after last year’s harsh winter.” A few people did very well off that blip.

Here’s a perennial … . Cops are going to crack down on curfew. Liz Sawyer of the Strib writes, “Data requested by the Star Tribune from the center show that about three-fourths of the youths cited for curfew violations so far this year are black. The Third Precinct in south Minneapolis reported the highest number of curfew violations, averaging five a week, followed by downtown, the North Side, northeast, then southwest, with about one per week, according to data through the first six months of 2014. About 70 percent of those picked up are black, about 6 percent white, the data showed.”

MPR’s Mike Zdechlik apprises GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden as the August primary looms. “Mike McFadden seems a lock to win the Aug. 12 GOP primary. … Some Republicans, though, still think the businessman is the wrong choice to run against DFL Sen. Al Franken. They’re working now to spread that doubt among potential voters. McFadden’s rivals are hoping Minnesotans have soured on big money politicians and are eager to support campaigns of people more like them instead of millionaires.” So … people with roots deep in the AstroTurf?

But dear, think of them as an investment! Tim Nelson at MPR writes, “… fans are ponying up for those pricey seat licenses in the new Vikings stadium. The team said today it was  already almost 1/3 ahead of its budget for sales for all of 2014, after just four months. Vikings director of communications Jeff Anderson says they’ve sold $51 million in licenses. They’d hoped to sell $37 million by the end of December.”

Every newsroom will order up several variations of this story … For the PiPress, Nick Ferraro gets the the task of assessing the financial impact of  the All-Star Game. “The All-Star Game revelry is generating more than just a baseball vibe in downtown Minneapolis. It also is generating a lot of money for area businesses and hopes for momentum as the Twin Cities seek to attract more national events. … A University of Kansas study by [Aaron] Clopton and other professors looked at the socio-economic gains [after last year’s game in Kansas City] and found that Kansas Citians’ sense of attachment to the city — or ‘psychic income’ — was greater after the game. It was especially higher among white males, Clopton said.” A pitcher of Fulton beer for the first reporter who gets someone to say, “It proves we’re major league … .”

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 07/14/2014 - 11:17 am.


    I looked at that Stawicki thing in several different versions and in none of them did I find it coherent. In saying we can do without the website, I am not sure anyone thought of it in terms of what the website did and what it would take to replace it. Very obvious questions such as how would a federal website deal with the local insurers who offer their products to Minnesotans seem not to have been asked.

    In the larger sense, providing health care on a state by state basis was something folks like me conceded rather than wanted. We would have preferred a nationalized system. But a state based system is what we got and having a state based website as a gateway to such a system, however plagued with bugs it may have been outset, seems a reasonable thing to do, and it’s not clear to me why it’s critics say it is not.

  2. Submitted by James Hamilton on 07/14/2014 - 05:44 pm.

    I’ll take the psychic income

    if I can spend it at the casinos.

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