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News of the Day ... In Perspective


Minnesota government shutdown could affect medical assistance

If a partial government shutdown occurs in Minnesota, some subsidized health plans might not be paid.

The Department of Human Services sent a letter to 357,000 recipients of MinnesotaCare, Medical Assistance, and General Assistance Medical Care explaining how their care might be affected by a shutdown. The government might not be able to pay the health plan, the notice said, but “we have asked your health plan to continue to give you services.”

The department classified some providers as “critical,” and other contractors as “non-critical,” promising that the latter would also be paid after the budget impasse is resolved.

Brian McClung, press secretary to Gov. Pawlenty, denied that the designations would threaten the medical care of persons dependent on the programs.

Judge Gregg Johnson of the Ramsey County District Court, ordered the department to send new notices informing beneficiaries that all providers would be considered critical.

Eric Lipman, an administration attorney, told the judge that the department considered the situation to be “fluid,” and that new notices might be sent (Star Tribune 6/30/05).

Additional Information:

Minnesota legislature special session discussing “performance reporting” and “quality improvement” systems: www.cchc-mn.org

“The Medicaid Penny,” by Dr. Lawrence Huntoon, J Am Phys Surg, spring 2005

Most states cutting Medicaid, News of the Day 1/23/05.

“Health Care Crisis: Made in Washington,” AAPS News, August 1992

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