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Editorial: Oversight failure hinders good government

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.