1.) Another day, another pitfall for the state health insurance exchange. According to the Pioneer Press, Minnesota Council of Health Plans director Julie Brunner sent a letter to state agencies on Friday to alert officials to the error-riddled data that insurance companies have received. Brunner’s letter goes on to warn that insurers are not positive that every consumer’s account will be sorted out by the Jan. 1 opening day of coverage, especially consumers who join MNsure in these final few weeks of eligibility. “We continue our work with MNsure to develop contingency plans so that MNsure and health plan companies do not find themselves in the situation of not being able to guarantee that people who believe they have purchased coverage will actually be covered,” Brunner wrote. MNsure has apparently put the responsibility of correcting incomplete or inaccurate records on the insurance companies, which Brunner described as a “time- and resource-intensive” process that will soon prove too burdensome for participating companies.
2.) Democrat Jim Read made his 6th Congressional District campaign official with a statement released on Saturday. Read, a native of Avon, works as a political science professor at College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University. Read said he decided to run for the office after observing Congressional gridlock during the recent government shutdown. In an interview last week with the St. Cloud Times, Read said he is encouraged by the idea of the four declared GOP candidates weakening each other in a an endorsement and primary contest, while he could be granted space to hone his message and reach voters as the lone DFL candidate in the state’s most right-leaning district. (Sartell Mayor Joe Perske had been known to be thinking over his own bid, but has yet to make up his mind.) Anticipating one possible weak point for a Democratic candidate, Read said criticism over the technological problems on the federal health care website should not reflect on the health care reform law itself.
3.) At 2:00 p.m. today, the Senate Rules and Administration Committee will meet to approve the last round of legal fees in that body’s prolonged battle with ex-staffer Michael Brodkorb. Minnesota Public Radio reports the latest expenses come to more than $77,000, an amount that brings the Senate’s total tab to $396,000 over the course of about 18 months. The committee has already approved a $30,000 severance package for Brodkorb. The terms of that deal saw both sides agree not to file for attorneys’ fees, and would prohibit Brodkorb from bringing another similar action related to the same events that led to his firing in late 2011.
COMINGS & GOINGS
- Republican David Gerson will debut his 2nd Congressional District campaign with a 10:30 a.m. press conference in room 181 of the State Office Building. Gerson is pitching himself as a more right-leaning alternative to GOP U.S. Rep. John Kline. Gerson unsuccessfully mounted a primary challenge against the Republican incumbent in 2012.
- Former state Rep. Marion Greene will run for the Hennepin County Board seat currently held by Gail Dorfman, who is retiring, according to Southwest Journal editor Sarah McKenzie. Greene, a Democrat, served one term in the House before redistricting forced her into an endorsement contest against Rep. Frank Hornstein, DFL-Minneapolis, which she lost.
- The Senate Republican caucus is holding a holiday fundraiser at the Midland Hills Club in Roseville tomorrow evening. Expected attendees include Senate Minority Leader David Hann. Cost is $250 per person; checks payable to “Senate Victory Fund.” RSVP to [email protected] or 612-756-3620.
- Rob Doar has signed on to become the second lobbyist for the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, joining Hamline Law School professor and Capitol regular Joseph Olson in representing that interest group.
- The Senate DFL caucus is hiring for a digital internship position. Responsibilities include work with photography, graphics, social media and website management. The position is open to current college students or recent graduates; the internship is not paid, but can be used to accrue course credits with approval. Send cover letter, resume and portfolio samples to [email protected]
- A fundraiser for DFL U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum‘s BETTY-PAC will be held at M Street Cafe in St. Paul at noon today. Suggested donation levels of $250, $500, $1,000 and $2,500; checks should be written out to “BETTY-PAC.” RSVP to (651) 603-1505 or [email protected]