James Nobles, Legislative Auditor (cartooncabin.co).
by Steve Timmer
Feb 17, 2015, 7:00 PM

Who appointed Jim Nobles to be Pontius Pilate?

Here’s the lede from a Strib article about Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles’ performance at a House committee hearing on Tuesday, February 17th:

An expansive report chronicles widespread problems during MNsure’s first year of operations, and concludes that achievements at the health insurance exchange were outweighed by failures.

Nobles thinks it wasn’t worth it. You can read the whole report (pdf).

I don’t even care what you think of MNSure; this was an odious performance by the Legislature’s chief bean counter. Why? Because he forgot himself, as he has seemed to do more lately.

If we wanted Jim Nobles’ policy judgment, we’d elect him to something. Obviously, we haven’t. And I wouldn’t recommend it.

But you can bet that Nobles will be on Almanac on Friday night, and the hosts will sit in slack-jawed wonder as he reels off his stories of the failures of MNSure.

I have some questions for these hosts to ask of Jim Nobles, not that they will.

How many people have health insurance that didn’t before MNSure?

What was the insured rate in Minnesota before MNSure, and what is it now?

How many people were insured who had pre-existing disqualifying conditions since MNSure became law?

Had anybody set up an exchange anywhere before MNSure, and what were the results?

Where were you when the paper was blank, Jim?

Remember, when MNSure was set up, nobody had ever done it before. It was terra incognito and tabula rasa.

Here be the dragons. One of the dragon’s name is James Nobles.

I know people who have health insurance and didn’t before MNSure. Jim Nobles undoubtedly thinks he runs with a better class of people than I do, but I doubt it.

It is also worth remembering when considering Jim Nobles’ hatchet job that there is a case pending before the Supreme Court to invalidate a part of the Affordable Care Act, this part:

At issue is whether the language of the Obamacare statute restricts the premium tax credits to residents buying insurance from a state-run exchange, and prohibits the subsidies on the federal exchange which serves some 7 million Americans in 36 states. A ruling against the White House would blow a huge hole in Obamacare because the subsidies are critical to ensuring that lower-income Americans can afford insurance.

If the court rules against the tax credits for the federal exchange, Nobles is going to look pretty damn stupid.

MNSure is a state-run exchange. Several of the candidates seeking to run against Mark Dayton last fall said they’d dismantle the state exchange and go with the federal one.

Stick to the beans, Jim; I don’t think you’re up to policy.

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