Media Advisory

Contact:  Buddy Robinson
(218) 727-0207

Rick Fuentes
(o) 651-414-2863
(c) 612-741-0662

Healthcare Advocates Call for HMO Accountability

HMOs and state contracts need to be audited as they stand to pocket $6 billion

ST. PAUL – May 4, 2017 – Healthcare advocates and nurses are calling for accountability of the state’s Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), including their state contracts assets worth billions of dollars. The Minnesota Legislature has deregulated HMOs to become for-profit entities, which would allow them to convert $6 billion in public assets to shareholders.

“There are significant indications of fraudulent overpayments – wasting both state and federal taxpayer funds,” said Buddy Robinson of the Greater Minnesota Health Care Coalition. “The State Legislative Auditor is mandated to get audits done on these programs, but these audits have not happened.”

Citizen advocates in Minnesota have tried, unsuccessfully for 10 years, to get the State of Minnesota to audit its $5 billion per year contracts with HMOs for the state’s low-income healthcare programs:  Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare, and others.  Citizen advocates are calling for federal authorities to intervene and audit the state’s contracts with the HMOs due to the persistent failure of state authorities to audit.

“Minnesota’s HMOs have accrued $6.8 billion in assets, a significant amount was accrued from tax dollars and premiums,” said Rose Roach, executive director of the Minnesota Nurses Association. “Minnesotans should not lose their share of those assets, which they paid for.”

The bill that the House and Senate introduced Tuesday stripped the strong conversion language that protected those assets, which was in accordance with recommendations from the Minnesota Attorney General’s office.

What:    Press Conference with healthcare advocates, nurses

When:    10 – 11 a.m. Thursday, May 4, 2017

Where:  State Office Building, Room 181

Who:      Speakers Include:

  • Buddy Robinson, Greater Minnesota Health Care Coalition
  • Rose Roach, Minnesota Nurses Association Executive Director