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Republicans ramp up criticism of MNsure as new deadline approaches

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With an election year around the corner, state Republicans are starting to sharpen their focus on the troubles surrounding MNsure, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

The new criticism comes after the state's health insurance exchange extended its enrollment deadline from Dec. 23 to Dec. 31 amid technical troubles with the MNsure website and long call center wait times.

Health insurance through MNsure is set to begin Jan. 1.

MPR says six Republicans are hoping to challenge Gov. Mark Dayton in next fall's election and most are voicing their concerns about MNsure.

One of them, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, told MPR that he believes fundamental problems will exist long after the site's technical problems are resolved.

Johnson asked, "Should government be trying to make decisions for consumers, or at least limiting the options that consumers have because we feel we know better what sort of insurance they should have?"

He added that his question addresses a "very legitimate, basic issue that could be quite important in the election next year."

With 134 seats in the House up in the 2014 election, Republican House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt of Crown said the troubles with MNsure could help the Republicans win back the majority.

Daudt told MPR that the implementation of MNsure has been "severely flawed" and the exchange "is not what they want and not what they asked for."

The MNsure enrollment extension last week came after a dramatic turn of events, as former chief April Todd-Malmlov stepped down and Scott Leitz was named interim leader.

Leitz has vowed to reduce call center wait times and fix website glitches.

Meanwhile, MNsure has posted a consumer tip sheet to help navigate users through the application process, the Star Tribune reported.

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