When Minnesota state lawmaker Joe Atkins hunkered down to draft legislation outlining the way Minnesota would implement the Affordable Care Act, he had no idea the results would be so dramatic.
The Gopher State is now enrolling individuals through its health-insurance exchange by the thousands and at health insurance premium rates that are among the lowest in the country.
Next door in Wisconsin, the numbers of Obamacare enrollees have barely hit the hundreds and premium rates are between 25 and 35 percent higher than in Minnesota.
The reason for the large gap in rates is unclear but could be, in part, because of the more aggressive approach Minnesota has taken to implementing the law.
The most obvious difference between the two states is their exchanges. Minnesota has its own online marketplace where residents and small businesses can shop for and buy insurance, while Wisconsin is relying on the federal government marketplace, which has been plagued with bugs and technical failures and doesn’t accommodate small businesses.