MN Legislators Put Bureaucrats at Bedside

Minneapolis (July 13, 2005) - Twila Brase, president of Citizens' Council on Health Care makes the following statement regarding the new government health care surveillance system which the Minnesota legislature passed today as part of the Health and Human Services Finance bill, House File 139:

"Government-standardized care is set to become law in Minnesota.

"Minnesota legislators have just passed legislation that will put government in the exam room, and bureaucrats at the bedside. Without the consent of patients or doctors, government officials will begin using private medical record data to monitor medical treatment decisions and create government report cards on health care provider compliance with government treatment directives.

"The Commissioner of Human Services will be empowered to decide what medical treatments will be classified as 'evidence-based' and given the government stamp of approval. On the basis of that decision, the Commissioner will publicly report the 'performance' of health care providers. For publicly subsidized patients, the Commissioner's decision can mean outright denial of medical treatment.

"We are disappointed that the House of Representatives refused to add an expiration date to this provision, as offered by Rep. Mark Olson (R-Big Lake). That legislators were unwilling to even allow their vote on this amendment to be counted and made part of the public record is something that should concern the public.

"If the Governor signs this bill into law, the Commissioner of Human Services will become the judge and jury of medical decision-making. And government bureaucrats will be empowered to look over the shoulder of every medical professional, and into the medical record of every patient treated in Minnesota.

"This legislation shows that most Minnesota legislators are willing to let government bureaucrats ration care and interfere with the confidential patient-doctor relationship. Every patient-indeed every citizen-may soon need to openly question their doctors about the reasons and motives behind every treatment decision.

Media Contact:

Twila Brase, President and Co-founder
Office: 651-646-8935