PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release Thursday, December 13, 2001
====================================== Citizens' Council on Health Care 1954 University Ave. W., Suite 8
St. Paul, MN 55104
CONTACT:Twila Brase, R.N., President
CCHC's "Tax on
Patients" Poster to be Distributed
Statewide by Health Care Groups
St. Paul, Minnesota - Although the
MinnesotaCare provider tax has raised the cost of health care in Minnesota by
more than $1.1 billion, few Minnesotans are aware of the tax, or the extent of
its collection for purposes beyond the MinnesotaCare subsidy program.
"No tax should be hidden from the public. Increasing public awareness
about the existence and cost of the tax, as well as how few of the dollars have
been used for the subsidy program, is key to having a frank discussion on the
value of the tax," says Twila Brase, R.N., president of CCHC.
To expand public awareness, Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC) has
initiated the Provider Tax Education 2001 Project. A poster depicting the tax
as a "Tax on Patients" will be distributed by Minnesota health care
organizations for display in the offices of health care professionals around
the state. It will include telephone numbers for contacting state officials,
legislators, and Governor Ventura.
Several Minnesota health care professional organizations have signed on to the
project, agreeing to distribute it to their membership through publications:
o The Minnesota Chiropractic Association - Membership
o The Minnesota Dental Association - Membership newsletter
o The Minnesota Medical Association - Minnesota Medicine magazine/web
o The Minnesota Optometric Association - web site and email announcement
o The Minnesota Podiatric Association - Quarterly membership newsletter
/paraindent>The 1992 law that created the tax initially kept doctors from
including the tax on billing statements. The prohibition was repealed after a successful
court challenge, allowing doctors to itemize the tax for patients, but many HMO
contracts continue to require that doctors and hospitals exclude the tax from
"The willingness of professional organizations to join us in this project
is extraordinary, and greatly appreciated. At a time when organizational
resources are scarce and repeal of the tax seems unlikely in 2002, Minnesota's
health care leaders have agreed to look forward into the future. As the public
becomes better educated on the provider tax, ten years of bad policy could be
reversed. Individuals across the state will suddenly realize that this is
actually a tax on patients not doctors. And further more, that it not only
increases the cost of health care but it also limits access to health care
"We have suggested that practitioners place the "Tax on
Patients" poster on the back of exam room doors, frame and display it on
reception desks and in waiting rooms, and place it on organization web
sites," says Brase. She is also suggesting that doctors regularly send the
poster and contact numbers as a flyer in their billing statements to patients.
CCHC released an extensive report about the legislative and financial history
of the tax at a press conference in February 2000: Distribution, Utilization
and Impact of the MinnesotaCare Provider Tax. The report points out, and
the poster reiterates, that between 1993 and 1998, only $250.6 million of
$622.2 million collected was spent on health care services for MinnesotaCare
patients. Collections were nearly two and one-half times the cost of care.
CCHC is an independent non-profit health care policy
located in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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"A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth."
-- Albert Einstein, letter to a friend, 1901
"I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to William C. Jarvis, September 28, 1820
"What's the point of vaccination if it doesn't protect you from the unvaccinated?"
-- Sandy Gottstein
"Who gets to decide what the greater good is and how many will be sacrificed to it?"