Watchdog Group Sharply Criticizes Minnesota's Medicaid Program

Updated: 08/23/2012 11:08 PM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls

The Greater Minnesota Health Care Coalition issued a 20-page report that says, in part, the $4 billion Medicaid program is filled with problems.

The GMHCC is a non-profit group based out of Northern Minnesota. In its report, the group also says the four Health Maintenance Organizations that run the state's Medicaid program have "misused and wasted" billions of taxpayers' dollars over the past 15 years. GMHCC also criticized the HMOs for sitting on nearly $3 billion in reserve bank accounts, rather than spending it on health care for low-income Minnesotans.

The group's report also calls on Gov. Mark Dayton and the State Legislature to kick the four HMOs out of the Medicaid program. The GMHCC also wants the state to hire an independent, third party auditor to double-check the books of the HMOs to make sure they are spending enough money on health care programs and not on administrative expenses.

Right now, the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services and the four HMOs, HealthPartners, U-Care, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota and Medica, are under investigation for allegedly inflating Medicaid costs to illegally obtain Federal matching dollars.

The Minnesota Council of Health Plans issued a statement that says, in part, the GMHCC report is not accurate.  The Council says the HMOs, over the past ten years, have only made a 2 percent profit on all state public health programs based on revenue.