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.
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.