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Editorial: Oversight failure hinders good government

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People often wonder why Minnesotans have become so skeptical of state government. One needs look no further than the recent Legislative Auditor report on the Department of Human Services.

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In a report issued Tuesday, Legislative Auditor Jim Noblels criticized the department for failing for more than a decade to verify MinnesotaCare applicants' income and social security numbers.

MinnesotaCare, a $550-million taxpayer-subsidized health insurance program, was created to help those who cannot afford private health insurance, but do not qualify for Medicaid.

Despite receiving warnings for more than a decade, the Department of Human Services has failed to verify MinnesotaCare applicants' income and social security number. And this failure continued through multiple administrations - Independent, Republican and now Democrat.

Even more shocking is the fact that this verification is required by both state and federal law and it has not been fixed in over a decade.

The department started development in 2003 of a Web-based program to verify those applicant facts. After spending $40 million on development over several years, the program was scrapped without a verification fix, according to a Star Tribune of Minneapolis report.

This was a complete failure of state government as basically this requirement has been abandoned for more than a decade.

Granted, this verification is not a simple task due to privacy and security issues. Yet it is government failures like this that perpetuate the perception of government failure through inaction.

Minnesota deserves better.

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