Governor Pawlenty Announces Big Government, Big Business "Cookie-Cutter Medicine" Plan

(St. Paul, Minnesota) - The Governor's plan to join forces with employer groups to purchase health care is bad news for the citizens and patients of Minnesota, says Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC). According to the Governor, the new purchasing alliance represents more than three-fifths (more than 60%) of all citizens, with more groups expected to join.

"When Big Government and Big Business join forces, the little guy - the patient - loses," says Twila Brase, president of CCHC.

Governor Pawlenty said that 30% of health care is ineffective, unnecessary and inappropriate, and thus 30% of savings are possible.

"Who decides what is inappropriate and unnecessary? This is government and employer groups working together to decide what kind of health care all Minnesotans will get," says Brase.

"Cookie-cutter medicine is coming to Minnesota. Any patient who wants a doctor to treat them as an individual may be forced to leave the state. Any doctor who practices innovative or individualized medicine may never come," Brase adds.

The new public-private partnership, which the Governor says will not require legislation, will:

  • certify doctors according to their experience, expertise, quality of care and results;
  • purchase health care on the basis of quality measurements, and reward improved clinical results rather than just paying for procedures;
  • require plans and practitioners to make cost and quality information available;
  • require technology such as swipe cards, electronic insurance claims submission, standardized claim forms, and tracking of patient data.

"'Who defines quality?, and how will that impact what care is available to me' is the question all citizens should be asking," said Brase.

The governor announced that he will ask the Minnesota legislature to approve a tax deduction for the Health Savings Accounts (HSA) to conform to the federal HSA law that was passed as part of the 2003 Medicare bill.

"HSAs are a great idea, but this morning they were used as a smoke screen to convince conservative supporters of the governor that they have nothing to worry about. Not true," says Brase.

"The Health Savings Account is about to be shackled by a quasi-single-payer initiative," warns Brase.

"The HSA means millions of decisions made by cost-conscious individual patients and consumers. The new purchasing alliance means a few people making health care decisions for millions of Minnesotans," she warns.

At the Governor's press conference this morning, there were three rows of chairs filled with representatives of business and other supporters of the new health care purchasing alliance.

"The Governor presented a show of force meant to dissuade any detractors. He meant to convey that this is a 'done deal.' It's not," said Brase.

Media Contact:

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