Minnesota gov: ObamaCare call center downed by robocalls

Minnesota gov: ObamaCare call center downed by robocalls

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Tuesday that the state’s ObamaCare call center had been hit by a robocall attack that clogged phone lines for hours and prevented some people from signing up.

“The system has not been down — somebody’s trying to jam the call center, and making robocalls to try to snafu the thing, which is deplorable,” Dayton told reporters, according to a recording provided by his office.

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Dayton said the state’s technology officials had “identified that culprit,” but declined to provide details.

Tuesday marks the first day for people to buy coverage under ObamaCare through the federal government as well as most state-run marketplaces.

Local newspapers, including the Star Tribune, had previously reported that the state’s ObamaCare sign-up website, MNsure, was among 70 state websites downed on Tuesday.

In a press appearance on Tuesday afternoon, Dayton tried to dispel what he called “rumors” of outages and suggested that the robocalls were the result of ill will against the healthcare program.

“We want to make this work as well as possible, unfortunately there are some people who want it to work as badly as possible,” Dayton said. He said the robocalls had slowed the wait time for customers to 19 minutes, from about 7 minutes earlier Tuesday morning.

"It's deplorable that somebody or anybody is trying to disrupt this," Dayton added. "They've excluded whatever the source is."

The rough start for MNsure’s open enrollment is the latest ObamaCare headache for Dayton’s administration.

Next year, the average premium cost in Minnesota is rising 67 percent, up from 50 percent last year.

The Democratic governor is also under fire within his party nationally for saying “the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable,” when addressing the sharp increase in his state’s premiums.

Dayton told reporters Tuesday that they hope to hold a special session of the state legislature “very shortly” after the election, to come up with a way to offset those costs.