Dayton touts health care savings, pleads ignorance of tipboard gambling

Gov. Mark Dayton, shown here during his first week in office, today touched on a wide array of topics.

Gov. Mark Dayton held one of those wide-ranging news conferences this morning, covering everything from health care savings to tipboards.

The governor, by the way, says he’s never played the tipboards, a variation of a sports-betting tool being proposed as a possible charitable-gambling backfill for funding a Vikings stadium.

“I don’t even know what a tipboard is,” Dayton said. “I’ve found politics a surer way to lose my money.”

The governor had no predictions on the fate of the Vikings stadium. He did express appreciation that the stadium did pass through a House committee Monday night.

The news conference was called to boast about how his administration has learned it’s saved $73 million because of the “voluntary” 1 percent cap on profits agreed to last year by the state’s major HMOs.

Dayton praised the work of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson in negotiating the 1 percent arrangement with HealthPartners, Medica, UCare and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Half of those savings will be sent to the federal government, but the remainder will end up in the general fund, where the Legislature will decide how funding will be used. Already there is pressure building for the $36.5 million to be used to restore cuts previously made for personal care attendants.

This 1 percent arrangement was a one-time deal. But unlike in the past, competitive bidding with the HMOs is expected to bring even greater savings to the state. The administration predicts that the combination of caps and competitive bidding, along with other reforms, will generate more than $500 million in savings to taxpayers in the next biennium.

“We are transforming the way we pay for health care,” Jesson said. “We’ve closed the door on the way we’ve done business in the past.”

On other subjects:

• Dayton was asked about the accomplishments of this year’s Legislature.

“I’ll quote Phil Krinkie [conservative head of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota],” Dayton said. “ ‘A do-nothing session.’ ”

Then Dayton attempted to wiggle away from that summation by pointing out that he merely was quoting Krinkie.

“I wouldn’t say it’s do-nothing,” Dayton said. “It’s just disappointing they haven’t done more, especially regarding jobs.”

In general, he said, this has been “a very political session” with all focus on November’s elections.

• He pointed to the Republican bill that will arrive on his desk soon that would use reserves to pay back school funding shifts. He made it sound as if he’ll almost certainly veto that bill, even though outwardly it may seem appealing to many Minnesotans.

“They’re solving one problem by creating another,” Dayton said of the bill. “It kicks another problem down the road. I understand the political strategy, but somebody has to be responsible — that’s me.”

• He also made it clear that he’ll likely veto any education bill that would eliminate the protection of teacher seniority. He expressed empathy for teachers, saying that legislative actions have “demoralized” many in the profession.

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Chuck Johnson on 04/03/2012 - 02:58 pm.

    This story is predicated upon a lie….

    …but then Minnpost suppresses the truth when I truthfully comment and challenge the lie?

    You folks are Orwellian.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 04/03/2012 - 04:20 pm.

      Elaborate, please?

      Comments like these aren’t helpful for the discussion of the supposed lie. Please feel free to elaborate.

  2. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/04/2012 - 09:25 am.

    Predicated lies..

    I’m having a really hard time thinking of a single Republican initiative during this legislative session that wasn’t predicated on a lie of some kind. Then again the list of lies predicating the stadium proposals is almost overwhelming, and the Democrats have been all over that like cheap suit.

    If you can’t completely eliminate the government, the next best thing is to have a government does nothing. In that sense this legislative session is the greatest Republican achievement in MN history.

  3. Submitted by Chuck Johnson on 04/04/2012 - 12:20 pm.

    OK Here’s the Truth – Will it be supressed a 2nd time ???

    First off, the quality of reporting as this story is written is poor and suggests a strong lack of financial acumen with regard to the writer. It refers to “$73 million because of the “voluntary” 1 percent cap on profits agreed to last year.” Any half way intelligent reader is left to wonder…1% of what? The answer is probably 1% of revenues…but maybe it’s 1% of what Mary Brainerd pays herself every year.

    Reality is that there is no $73 million in “savings”, and Dayton is either a liar or seriously deluded to claim otherwise. These so called non-profit HMOs, run by executives with lavish million dollar plus salaries, overcharge their paying consumers. Most of these HMO members, such as my working wife for instance, have money pulled from their paychecks to pay for their HMO. Rather than have the money returned to those who have been overcharged, courtesy of the State of Minnesota not regulating these charges for the benefit of paying consumers, the State gloms onto this money and calls it “savings.”

    Very ‘mysteriously’, the costs for coverage these HMOs charge their membership goes up 8…10….maybe 12% every year. These rates are far in excess of what the feds(and yes, that’s another lie by the government) tell us to be the annual rate of inflation. When these HMOs attain excess profits, the money should be returned to the paying consumers who have been overcharged, via rate reductions, and not pocketed by a dishonest governor who deems it to be “savings.” Perhaps Mark Dayton would be better served by owning up to his ignorance in this matter as well.

  4. Submitted by Amy Wilde on 04/04/2012 - 09:20 pm.

    HMO refunding

    Um, I don’t think Mr. Johnson realizes that the “savings” that Gov. Dayton is referring to is NOT from excess profits from private individuals or even state employees who are covered under these non-profit HMOs. He’s talking about the Medicaid (or Medical Assistance and Minnesota Care) clients who are served by state contracts with these HMOs. It is TAXPAYERS who pay those premiums, not paying consumers, so the refunds should go back to the taxpayer-funded state agency that foots the bill.
    The HMOs have different arrangements, different funding sources for employer-based coverage. It’s only the Medicaid contracts that are being investigated.

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