Gov. Mark Dayton said the idea of releasing the health insurance rates on the state's health exchange before the election may just add political heat without shedding any light.
"The Republicans will make a political issue out of MNsure between now and the election for anything and everything. And, you know, we're taking it one step at a time," Dayton said.
State law requires the rates for MNsure, the Minnesota version of the health exchange created in the wake of the federal Affordable Care Act, to be released in mid-November. Republicans in the Legislature and those who hope to unseat Dayton see politics in that post-election release, which one has called a "cover up."
On Monday, the DFL governor said that the Commerce Department has received preliminary rate estimates from plans and is now negotiating them down. Dayton said he has not seen those preliminary rates and is not sure if they should be released before the November election.
"I think they are going to be so badly distorted for political purposes that I don't think they will shed any light for consumers," Dayton said. "I don't think it is going to shed any light on it. It is going to add a lot of heat to the lambasting that goes on."
An early release would likely require sign off from the health plans.
"Throwing MNsure farther into the thick of the all the political shots that are going to be taken to me is not (serving any purpose,)" Dayton said.
The governor said he has not made a final decision on whether he believes the rates should be released early but is disinclined to move toward release because of pressure from Republicans to do so.
"We will see how it unfolds," Dayton said.
On Tuesday, a state legislative MNsure panel will discuss the rate release schedule.
"Gov. Dayton should put politics aside, and give Minnesotans the time they need in order to make an informed decision as to the healthcare coverage they need," the Republican Party of Minnesota said in a news release Monday.
Photo: Star Tribune file photo