Shocker: State Obamacare Exchanges Already Seeing Cost Bloat

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A lot of the focus on the battle over the state health insurance exchanges in the Obamacare law has been over states like North Dakota which have refused, so far, to implement them. But what about the states that are going ahead with implementation?

Things aren’t going so hot. The State of Minnesota just announced that their exchange has already exceeded cost estimates by 35% before it’s even implemented, and the cost to taxpayers is expected to rise another 18% in the first year after implementation.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota’s state health insurance exchange will cost $54 million in 2015 to operate, according to the Gov. Mark Dayton administration.

The cost comes in at greater than earlier estimates of $30 to $40 million. The state would not have to find the money until 2015, when the state exchanges are required to be financially self-sustaining. But the cost rises to a projected $64 million in 2016. State officials are still weighing how the exchange will pay for itself. Options include user fees, a sin tax, and selling ads.

The exchange, a cornerstone of the federal health care overhaul, will create an insurance marketplace where consumers and small businesses can comparison shop for health insurance policies starting in October of next year. Coverage would take effect in 2014.

The exchanges have always been a bad deal for states. They are “are an accounting trick designed to make ObamaCare look like less of a strain on the federal budget, shuffling billions of dollars in costs off Washington’s books and into state capitals,” writes John Hayward in Human Events.

Let the federal government bear the cost of implementing this folly, not the states.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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