Dishonest or Incompetent: What Didn’t He Know, and When Didn’t He Know It

“The Buck Stops with Me” – Mark Dayton, MPR, December 19, 2013

Lakeville, MN – Senator Dave Thompson, candidate for Governor, and Senator Michelle Benson, candidate for Lt. Governor, issued the following joint statement in response to reports that Governor Dayton was aware, prior to its October 1, 2013 launch, that systemic problems with the website could prevent thousands of Minnesotans from obtaining health care coverage.

“Governor Dayton is either dishonest or incompetent. And while we do not take these words lightly, the facts now make clear that Governor Dayton had enough advance notice to stop the train wreck that is MnSure, and he chose to do nothing.

“The fact is, Governor Dayton knew well before the meeting at his residence cited by the Star Tribune that Minnesota was hurtling towards disaster. The Governor had ample opportunity to understand the short comings of MNsure operations. 

  • In the fall of 2012, CIO Tom Baden told the MNsure Oversight Committee that operations were situation “rellow” (red or yellow status), meaning most critical tasks were behind schedule.
  • On January 31, 2013, Senator Benson sat across from the Governor at a breakfast meeting and told him that the exchange would not be ready by October 1, 2013. Senator Benson warned the administration that without a drastic change in the scope of work, the system would fail.
  • During the 2013 session, Republicans pleaded with Governor Dayton to allow experts to serve on the MNsure Board of Directors. 
  • In the summer of 2013, experts told us repeatedly that the exchange would not be ready for an October 1, 2013 launch.
  • On January 10, 2014, Governor Dayton told MinnPost that he “didn’t know about the serious technical issues plaguing MNSure until after the exchange’s October 1 launch.”

We come to the unfortunate conclusion that either the governor isn’t telling us the truth, or he is incapable of performing the job that he was elected to do.

Either way, the only way we will make sure that the people of Minnesota get the health care, the leadership, and the honesty that they need is by electing a new Governor.