We deserve to see MNsure rates before Nov. 4

Republicans didn’t back off on pushing Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton to release 2015 MNsure rates prior to this year’s election. They hounded him publicly to do just that since he announced he would wait until after the November election.

It appears the Republicans are getting their way.

Good for them. And good for Minnesotans.

Even though Dayton says the GOP has been playing politics and that MNsure rates shouldn’t be a political issue, it’s hard – no, it’s impossible – to spin this any other way.

This is a political issue – not because of the health exchange’s inauspicious start, but because it affects so many Minnesotans. Besides, what isn’t fair game in politics?

In his letter to the MNsure Oversight Committee, Dayton wrote that he has asked Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman to make the request to participating health plans for the release of the rates “around” Oct. 1, 2014, or 45 days before open enrollment begins.

Dayton said “making the rate information public before Open Enrollment begins would provide families and businesses additional time and information to help them make informed decisions regarding their health coverage options in 2015.”

Insurance rates must be published by the time open enrollment begins in mid-November, but they could be published by Oct. 1 if all participating health plans agree. Last year, health plans approved releasing rates almost a month before open enrollment.

We applaud Republicans for pushing Dayton relentlessly to release this information, and we applaud Dayton for finally making a push, a concerted effort, to publicize prices for the state’s health care exchange before, not after, Nov. 4.

Whether he likes it or not, Dayton has to admit health care/health insurance has been and will continue to be the hottest of hot-button issues for the rest of the summer and heading into Election Night. Trying to avoid health care this election season for politicians would be like trying to avoid the sun on a cloudless day, and given all the controversy surrounding MNsure and its rocky beginnings, there’s no sunscreen that fully can protect Democrats, including Dayton.

But by pushing for a pre-election release of MNsure rates, Dayton, who like all governors in the country had to play by the rules under the Affordable Care Act, did himself, and the state, a huge favor.