OTHER OPINION: HMOS | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

OTHER OPINION: HMOS

Getting the best deal

Posted: April 13, 2011 - 5:48pm

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton recently gave the state just what the doctor ordered. Seeking to curb rocketing costs in the state budget’s fastest growing category, he ordered HMOs that provide state health care plans to go through a competitive bid process as well as enact rules that would ensure more accountability.

Dayton did this by executive order, and won praise from both Democrats and Republicans.

The problem is that Minnesotans send $3 billion a year down a black hole of medicine.

The providers then assure the state that they provide great service to Minnesota’s most vulnerable and sick. In other words, those least likely to complain about care.

Taxpayers are left to trust insurance companies that they’re getting a good deal. 

The companies that provide Minnesota subsidized care don’t have to throw open their books, and the state has little recourse or recall once the contract is signed.

Dayton’s order would change the way things are done.

Taxpayers wouldn’t be left to take the insurance companies word. We’d be better able to hold companies accountable for the services they provide at taxpayer expense.

In fact, Minnesota law requires that any private business working on public contracts must at least open up the books on that particular contract to ensure accountability and prove the taxpayer money was spent how the government intended.

It’s another good example of Minnesota law promoting transparency and accountability.

But Dayton didn’t wait for lawmakers and didn’t let HMO spending become a partisan chip to be played as it gets closer to putting budgets together.

What Dayton did was good medicine for Minnesota.