Ramsey Co. Taxpayers Might Get Millions Back

Posted at: 08/21/2013 10:10 PM
Updated at: 08/22/2013 7:36 AM
By: Jay Kolls

A 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS investigation is getting some early results.

Last month, we told you Ramsey County gives Regions Hospital $1.7 million dollars a year to offset indigent care. But, that money goes directly into the pockets of HealthPartners. That's the HMO that runs Regions for the county.

HealthPartners has $800 million in the bank, and that's why some taxpayers do not want county commissioners to continue the subsidy. So, Ramsey County commissioners are now considering a proposed cut around $800,000 in that subsidy over the next two years.

More than a dozen taxpayers showed up at a Ramsey County Board hearing to express their displeasure with the subsidy to HealthPartners.

Priscilla Johnson is confined to a wheelchair after a stroke and was denied a $25 expense for exercise therapy. That made her mad and willing to fight back. She tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the HealthPartners subsidy is "a lot of money, and it appears to be going to the wrong place." Medicaid already covers health care for low-income people, and that's why taxpayers think the $1.7 million could be cut and returned to the General Fund and other programs that need money and are facing budget cuts.

The Ramsey County 2014 budget will not be finalized until December. If taxpayers do not want HealthPartners to get any subsidy at all, they can still contact their Ramsey County Commissioner and express their desires. Or, taxpayers still have time to show up at a county board meeting, in person, to tell commissioners what they think about the multi-million dollar subsidy to the HMO.