CCHC Photo Gets Quick Response from Governor's Office

(St. Paul, Minnesota) - On Friday, May 28, approximately 45 minutes after the Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC) placed online a photo of the May 13 delivery of citizen petitions to the Governor's office -- and notified the Office of the Governor about the photo -- a representative of the Governor's office called CCHC's president, Twila Brase.

The Governor's representative said the petitions had been located and had just now -- the afternoon of Friday, May 28 -- been placed in the Governor's office, where they would be visible and available to the Governor while he reviewed and read bills on Saturday, May 29.

This same representative was unable to provide CCHC with information on the whereabouts of the petitions during the two weeks since Thursday, May 13 -- the day the petitions were delivered by CCHC to the Office of the Governor.

After a follow-up call from CCHC, the representative called CCHC yesterday afternoon -- Tuesday, June 1 -- to say that the citizen petitions had been in the constituent services department before they were transferred by office staff to the Governor's office on May 28 for his review on May 29.

Too Late
"May 29 was too late for the Governor to see the petitions. Most policy decisions are made through negotiations with House and Senate leadership prior to the Governor's signing decision. The citizen petitions were delivered by CCHC on May 13 -- two days before the "best practices" language was added to House File 2277," said Ms. Brase.

"Had the Governor seen the high stack of petitions prior to May 15, and read just a few of them, he might have kept government-directed medical practice out of the bill," she said.

"However, from our conversations with staff at the Governor's office, it appears that the Governor did not see the citizen petitions until his signing decision on May 29, making it virtually impossible for him to stop the proposal from becoming law," said Ms. Brase.

The Future
Last Saturday, May 29, the "best practices" language became law in Minnesota when Governor Pawlenty signed House File 2277. The language includes an expiration date.

"As the state health department begins to build a central medical decision-making bureaucracy in Minnesota, we expect health officials, HMOs, and employer groups to lobby for a repeal of the expiration date. If they are successful, state officials will be free to issue government treatment protocols across the full spectrum of medical diagnoses," said Ms. Brase.

"We are still waiting for a meeting with Governor Pawlenty," said Ms. Brase.

"And Minnesota citizens are still waiting for a full and complete answer to the question: 'Who diverted the citizen petitions from the Governor's review until May 29?'"

Media Contact:

Twila Brase, President
Phone: 651-646-8935 (office)