Lawmakers: For-profit insurers could raid Minnesota reserves

Published 8:08 am Wednesday, April 24, 2019

ST. PAUL — Attorney General Keith Ellison called on lawmakers Tuesday to reverse a consequence of 2017 law that repealed Minnesota’s ban on for-profit health maintenance organizations, saying for-profit companies could pocket billions in assets now held by the state’s nonprofit HMOs that should be spent on health care instead.

“This issue of HMO conversion can sound a little complicated but it’s actually pretty simple,” Ellison said, pointing to a sign carried by a supporter standing nearby at his news conference. “That’s our money.”

As nonprofits, Ellison pointed out, HMOs pay little to nothing in taxes. Minnesota granted those tax breaks, protected them from competition from for-profit companies, and gave them exclusive rights to run public health care programs in the expectation that they would act in the public interest, he said.

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