Monday, October 11, 2010

Is Open Government Good For Your Health?

Freely available public information appears to be important for health plans of Minnesota. The Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune reported that a representative of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans used the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act to lobby for their interests with the Department of Human Services in Washington.

I think that is great.

I do find it ironic though that these same health plans lobby against public accountability and transparency about their operation of state-funded programs. They helped defeat bills that might reveal, for instance, how much they spend on administrative costs.

It is hard to imagine why citizens, or even legislators, should not be able to see and understand where their tax money is being spent. Why should it be a secret to see how the health plans are spending public monies on such programs as Medicaid? Our public programs currently managed by these health plans lack transparency and accountability.

Audits and reports are a key factor in assessing how well plans like Medica, Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Health Partners are taking care of us.

But the Minnesota Council of Health Plans disagrees. They recently fought bills in the Legislature that would have brought sunshine and more government oversight to their businesses.;

If we're going to give them tax dollars to take care of Minnesotans, we shouldn't allow vendors who receive  millions of dollars in public money to thwart the Data Practices Act.

I am glad the Minnesota Council of Health Plans have figured out to use the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act for their own benefit.  Now perhaps they will figure out how to comply with it for ours.

No comments:

Post a Comment