Much of increase used to balance state budget

Minnesota's tax on health care services will increase by 0.5 percent on January 1, 2004. More than $1.6 billion has been collected since the MinnesotaCare provider tax began in 1993.

THE HMO ACT TURNS 30 - few are expected to celebrate

"Congress turned the entire American health care system on its head hoping the HMO could solve the budget problems they created with Medicare. It didn't work, but patients everywhere have suffered as a result," says Twila Brase, president of the Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC).

MN Bioscience Council Letter to Governor Fails to Address Genetic Privacy Concerns

Yesterday's letter from the Minnesota Bioscience Council to Governor Tim Pawlenty failed to address the genetic privacy and patient consent issues surrounding the new Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Human Genomics, says St. Paul-based Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC).

CCHC Requests Documents from the Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota:

In preparation for Minnesota's 2004 legislative session in which Governor Tim Pawlenty's biotechnology initiative will be debated, Citizens' Council on Health Care sent letters today to the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota Board of Regents requesting a copy of various policies and procedures related to genetic and medical research.

The Medicare Bill - A Good Idea or a Bad Idea?

"Much of the language in the bill is meant to expand government control over health care and increase the burden of taxes on generations to come," says Twila Brase, president of CCHC.

Minnesota DFL Senators Push Government-Health-Care-For-All Plan

The Minnesota Senate Health and Family Security Committee held an informational hearing today at the Minnesota State Capitol on two DFL bills that would require universal coverage in Minnesota. SF 339 by Senator Leo Foley (D-Coon Rapids) would establish a universal health care system. SF 979 by Senator John Marty (D-Roseville) would require the state health department to design a universal system and put it into place by 2010.

Good ideas and troubling proposals

There are favorable and flawed ideas in the Health Care Cost Containment Act of 2004, according to the St. Paul-based Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC). An overview of the proposal's 36 ideas was released last Thursday by the Minnesota House Republicans.

Senator Norm Coleman's Medicare Payment Plan Questioned by CCHC

"Paying doctors and health plans in Medicare according to their performance essentially supports government directed medicine. It means that some official or group of officials outside the examination room will determine what constitutes a good performance in health care quality and what does not. Patients will have no say in the matter," says Brase.

Governor's Citizen Health Care Forum Lacks Citizens

"Since there is almost no representation of citizen groups on the Governor's Citizens Forum on Health Care Costs*, we find the name a bit puzzling. With the group's membership, the forum's mission is not likely to be oriented toward citizens and patients," says Brase.

Says federal government cannot assure citizens that privacy rights are protected

Personal data may not be adequately protected from collection, use and disclosure, according to a stinging report released today by the General Accounting Office. In a survey of 25 federal agencies, and through a GAO forum for federal privacy officers, the GAO found a significant lack of compliance with the federal Privacy Act of 1974.