Dayton takes responsibility for troubled MNsure rollout

Gov. Mark Dayton took responsibility for the failures of the MNsure rollout at a student forum at the University of Minnesota Duluth on Friday.

Although Dayton defended the federal Affordable Care Act for extending insurance for young adults and to people with pre-existing conditions, he described the rollout of the $100 million state online insurance marketplace as "horrible" and said the buck stops with him.

"I think it's terrible that it's been this badly done," Dayton said of the MNsure website. "It's the worst experience I've had in the three years of my term. And I feel very, very badly for Minnesotans who deserve better, and need better, and we're going to make it better."

Dayton said his staff is evaluating recommendations made by an independent consultant that this week issued a critical report of MNsure.

The report by Optum, a subsidiary of Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group, concluded that MNsure's management structure is "non-existent."

It notes that the center is overloaded and disorganized, which has hurt customer service. More than 3,000 people call the center daily, but because people trying to enroll are intermingled with people who have non-enrollment questions, wait times are long.

MNsure needs 100 more call center staff to get wait times down from the current duration of more than 50 minutes, the Optum report said.