by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton Friday expressed “regret” that Democrats are being attacked over his comment that Obamacare is “no longer affordable,” and he called on his state to approve emergency measures to help people facing huge rate hikes next year.
Republicans across the country had seized on his remarks, which came just days after Bill Clinton raised similar concerns about Obamacare’s ongoing affordability problems.
“Last week I said that the Affordable Care Act ‘is no longer affordable to increasing numbers of people.’ I regret that my statement was wrongly used against Democratic candidates in Minnesota and elsewhere,” Dayton said in a statement. He said he stands by his remarks that more and more people are unable to afford Obamacare coverage.
Minnesota insurers are jacking up rates by at least 50 percent for individual plans next year. The state’s largest insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, has pulled its most popular product, with more than 100,000 enrollees, from the state’s exchange.
The drumbeat of bad health care news has become a central issue in Minnesota’s state legislative races with all seats on the ballot this year. Democratic lawmakers, who control the state Senate but not the House, have pushed Dayton for to call a special session to blunt the impact of rates hikes.