The billboard was put up on Snelling Avenue by the Citizens' Council for Health Freedom Wednesday in an effort to attract the attention of the 1.7 million people who attend the State Fair every year. The Minnesota-based organization has been a longtime opponent of health exchanges and the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
The billboard, which urges the refusal of MNsure, will remain in the location until the end of the State Fair on Labor Day, Sept. 2. The Minnesota Department of Commerce said Friday that all insurance companies offering MNsure policies will publicly release rates Sept. 6.
The federal government last month gave the state $9 million to advertise MNsure exchange, which opens Oct. 1.
Minnesota is one of 16 states and Washington, D.C., to build a health exchange. MNsure will help serve people on public programs, at small businesses and businesses who don't get insurance at the workplace. State officials are hoping that more than 1 million Minnesotans ultimately enroll in the program.
Citizen's Council for Health Freedom president and co-founder Twila Brase calls health exchanges "the Achilles' heel of Obamacare" and without it, "Obamacare" can't be implemented.
Meanwhile, MNsure spokesman John Reich says he hasn't seen the billboard, but he wasn't surprised that there is one.
"We’re charged with finding a way to deliver high quality, affordable health insurance for Minnesotans," Reich told the Star Tribune.