MN Health Care CEOs Propose Medicaid Plan

CEOs from seven of the state's major health systems and health plans have created a report that proposes ways to cut the state's Medicaid deficit.

A group of CEOs from seven of the state's major health systems and health plans have teamed up to create a plan to cut Minnesota's Medicaid deficit.

Called “Minnesota's Health Care Imperative,” the report outlines a plan to decrease the state's projected $6.2 billion Medicaid deficit by up to $2.2 billion.

The organizations involved in drafting the report are HealthPartners, Allina Health System, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Fairview Health Services, Medica, Park Nicollet Health Services, and UCare.

The report claims that the state could save $100 million by redesigning the way care is delivered to create more value. The group proposes setting up a state Medicaid Institute to act as the government's policy committee in considering opportunities to reform the state's Medicaid program-which costs much more than the programs in other states.

For example, the state's average cost per enrollee is the fourth-highest in the nation and is 49 percent higher than the national average, the report said.

The report also suggests shifting people with disabilities from a fee-for-service plan into managed care, which provides better care coordination, avoids unnecessary hospital stays, and could save up to $300 million.

The CEOs also stand behind Governor Mark Dayton's $800 million early expansion of the Medicaid program, which would offer Medicaid benefits to more Minnesotans.

To gain more Medicaid funding, the report suggests increasing taxes on tobacco and alcohol-which would result in an extra $280 million annually.

“We're not saying this is what Minnesota must do,” Mary Brainerd, CEO of HealthPartners, told the Star Tribune. “We're saying these are things we must consider to emerge from the current budget dilemma. We can create a system that costs less and keeps people healthier.”

The CEOs told the Star Tribune that they involved a broad range of people in drawing up the report, but the newspaper reported that some advocates for the poor and disabled and rural health providers say they were cut out completely or only informed about the report within the past two weeks.

Next week, some of the CEOs who drafted the initiative will meet with the new commissioners of human services and management and budget to go over the initiatives outlined in the report.

According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, which oversees the state's Medicaid program, the program provides coverage for more than 600,000 people a month.