MN Health Care Activists Protest HMOs Gobbling Up Billions

TheUptake-MinnLegislatureIgnores2BillionDebtReduction189

A group of protestors representing over a dozen organizations rallied in front of the offices of Minnesota Health Care Plans Office, the HMO trade association, Monday morning to protest excess retention of funds paid by the public. Even though there is bipartisan support, the HMO lobbyists have convinced the relevant committee chairs to refuse to discuss the cost saving options. Thus, a possible $2 billion deficit reduction is swept under the legislative rug.

The groups argue that, “Minnesota’s private HMOs have profited from MN’s public Medicaid while 1000s of children w/ disabilities, seniors in nursing homes, and low-income people — all on these same programs face devastating cuts. Over $3 billion a year of taxpayer money funds these programs into a black box of unaccountability. This year alone HMOs kept $300 million in profits and over years HMOs have hoarded $2.5 billion into their reserve funds.”

If all public health insurance programs run by various state agencies were consolidated into one state agency payer would save an estimated $2 billion this year — a significant dent in the $5 billion state deficit.

Today’s sponsors were Universal Health Care Action Network MN, 612-384-0973, www.uhcan-mn.org, Practitioner United MN,Twin Cities Gray Panthers, Older Women’s League, Poor Peoples’ Economic Human Rights Campaign, Schneider Drug, West Bank Pharmacy, North Star Health Collective, DFL-Progressive Caucus, Veterans for Peace. Physicians for a National Health Program -Minnesota.

Bill Sorem

Bill Sorem is a longtime advertising professional who started with Campbell Mithun and ended up with his own agency. After a tour as a sailing fleet manager in the Virgin Islands he turned to database programming as an independent consultant. He has written sailing guides for the British Virgin Islands and Belize, and written for a number of blogs. In 2010, he volunteered as a citizen journalist with The UpTake and has stayed on as a video reporter.

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