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MNsure has a jittery start, but it is here to stay

REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang
Obamacare gives those without hope the ability to see a doctor without wrecking the family budget.

I had some problems getting to MNsure today. I am one of those people who will be using MNsure to get my insurance going forward because I have taken early retirement and my employer does not offer insurance for its retirees.

I went to the website and started the application process but didn’t get very far. The servers were down. Apparently too many people were accessing the site. 

Also, when gathering information I was blocked at one point because the site could not connect with a certain Federal site — “closed because of the Government shutdown.”

Now, I suppose if I was an Obamacare hater my first comments would be MNsure is a colossal failure. It should be dumped.

But let me continue.

I called the MNsure help line. I got to a person in 15 minutes, after getting several repeated messages that “all representatives were busy.” But this person was a tremendous help. She apologized for the delays and explained that the site was swamped with calls. She answered every one of our questions in a concise and informative manner.

She explained that we had till December 15th to set up an account and choose our coverage. She noted that which providers were involved with each insurance option would be available online soon. She mentioned that navigators could help with filling out the forms and that there was a full list of certified helpers on the website. 

She helped us figure out income eligibility and that the federal subsidy would be estimated based on income stated, but that adjustments might be made when we filled out our income tax for the 2014 year.

I am sure my Republican friends would smile and say, “Hey, I told you so: Obamacare is a failure.”

On the other hand, you could also conclude that any website that crashes its servers might be a popular one, a successful one. As the number of people getting insurance through MNsure begins to rise, don’t you think that is a positive thing?

Thousands of people who had no insurance will get it. Thousands more will learn they are eligible for MinnesotaCare, getting good and very affordable insurance for low income people. 

I see the conservative media looking for every negative tidbit they can rustle up about the ACA. They won’t tell you about the positive aspects of all this. They can’t, because they want all of it to fail.

I hate to dash their hopes, but how are they going to roll back Obamacare after millions of people have successfully gotten insurance they can afford? How do you take it away from those people? How do you tell them that they will, once again, be blocked by their pre-existing condition? That their 20 something children can’t be on their insurance anymore? That they are once again at the mercy of HMO restrictions and lifetime limits and the Medicare doughnut hole?

Obamacare was never going to be of much use to those that already have their insurance needs met — and they will be able to continue with all of that. But those that had no hope before will suddenly see a chance to get out from under that medical debt. To see a doctor without wrecking the family budget. To protect their kids from life’s unpredictable paths.

Now that these things have started, it won’t go back. Not because of scare tactic rhetoric and not because of government shutdown theatrics.

Sorry, House Republicans. Obamacare is here to stay.

This post was written David Mindeman and originally published on mnpACT! Progressive Political Blog. Follow Dave on Twitter: @newtbuster.

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