Updated: 03/09/2012 1:27 PM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls
The document is called "Advancing Minnesota's Health System." It is a preliminary draft put together by seven big Health Maintenance Organizations that collectively administer Minnesota's public health care.
Among the changes the HMOs are considering as budget saving proposals for the legislature are: cuts in certain services to the developmentally disabled and the elderly. The draft report also calls for the elimination of 30 percent of the public union employees who help administer Medicaid and other public programs. And, it also includes the possibility of raising Minnesota's "sin taxes" by about $1.2-billion. Those taxes would include sales on tobacco, liquor and sugar sweetened soft drinks. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS shared the document's outlines with union leaders, the Minnesota Nurses Association, lawmakers and advocates for the disabled. Each group expressed concern about the plan and criticized the HMOs for trying to help balance the state's budget on the backs of the disabled, poor and elderly.
A spokesperson for the HMOs told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in a statement that the plan is preliminary and not a final working document. The statement also says the plan--taken as a package--could improve access, affordability and quality of health care for all Minnesotans.