During the MNGOP's end-of-the-legislative-session news conference this morning, Senate Minority Leader David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) previewed an argument you're sure to hear frequently during campaigns against DFLers this summer and fall.
With Minnesota's economy on the upswing and the DFL accomplishing many of its goals while in control of state government the past two years, Republicans are looking for whatever fodder they can get. And one of the few obvious lines of attack open to them is MNsure, which created headaches for users early on thanks to website failures and is still subject to questions about its long-term financial viability.
So as legislators pivot from the just-completed legislative session to campaign season, Hann said this morning that "of all the things that we did though this year, the one glaring omission is that we did nothing with health care."
"And everyone knows that this health care system that was put in place last year hasn't really worked out that well," Hann said. "$160 million in cost. The result: about 240,000 Minnesotans having to lose their health care, go out and try to find replacement health care."
Think of that what you will, but Hann then made this demonstrably false statement.
"We've seen increased pressure in the private markets for growing premiums, and to date we do not know of any instance where someone who wasn't insured before is now insured," he said (emphasis ours). "There has to be some serious reexamination of this way of solving or dealing with health care."
Here's the video:
Hann must not have looked very hard for someone who has coverage because of MNsure, because it took us all of about five minutes to prove his statement false.
Jake Gale, an unmarried 29-year-old who hails from Forest Lake -- full disclosure: the author and Gale went to Forest Lake High School together -- has Crohn's Disease. He was on MinnesotaCare for a while, but was kicked off about 18 months ago because he made too much money.
"I tried about four or five private insurance companies before the ACA was implemented and they all rejected me because of a preexisting condition," Gale tells us.
But now, because of Obamacare -- and, by extension, MNsure -- insurance companies can't reject him because of his Crohn's.
Gale acknowledges signing up for MNsure was a struggle -- he says it took numerous lengthy, frustraing phone calls spanning January to March and the help of a "broker" before he was finally enrolled -- but couldn't be happier with his $137-per-month policy now that he's covered.
"All the bugs were in the [online] system, not the [MNsure] bill itself," Gale says. "For what I pay, I couldn't be more happy."
In sum, if we were using PolitiFact's criteria, we'd have to say Hann's statement rates as "Pants on Fire!"