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Paul Bunyan Pitching In On MNsure Push

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(credit: CBS) Holly Wagner
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The leaders of MNsure unveiled a new marketing campaign featuring two Minnesota icons that will run for the next month.

The campaign features folk hero Paul Bunyan and his faithful companion Babe in a series of unfortunate mishaps along with a twist on familiar slogan, “Minnesota: Land of 10,000 reasons to get health insurance.”

The MNsure board chair Brian Beutner said Paul and Babe were the obvious choice.

“They were easy to work with,” he said. “The Ball of Twine’s agent was harder.”

It’s part of MNsure’s big push to get people enrolled in the state’s new health insurance program.

Under the Affordable Care Act, all Americans must have health insurance by the new year or pay a tax penalty.

“It’s a new place for people to get coverage that haven’t had coverage before, and those that are looking at new affordable options to come and see what may be available for them,” MNsure’s Executive Director April Todd-Malmlov said.

Ahead of MNsure’s media blitz, conservative group Citizens’ Council For Health Freedom put up a billboard near the state fairgrounds encouraging people to refuse MNsure.

On its website, the group said the program threatens individual choice, privacy, and freedom. Along with opposition, University of Minnesota political science professor Larry Jacobs said there is still a lot of confusion about the cost and subsidies available, and whether it will be a better deal.

“The big question a lot of Minnesotans are going to be asking as the ads roll out is, ‘What’s in it for me?'” he said.

Adding to the confusion, MNsure has a cost calculator on its website, but not all the numbers are accurate.

“One of MNsure’s problems is getting up to speed as fast as it can,” Jacobs said.

According to MNsure, the estimates from the cost calculator will be up to date in September when the state gets new numbers on premiums from the Department of Commerce.

The $9 million ad campaign, paid for by federal grants, comes six weeks before MNsure can start enrolling people for the program.

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