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Congress digging deeper into Minnesota's Medicare program

Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate have asked for more information from Minnesota about its Medicaid program. State Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson already traveled to Capitol Hill to testify in person as Congress looks into possible overpayments. The insurance program for low-income Minnesotans is run jointly by the state and federal governments.

Congress sends stinging message to Minnesota about Medicaid

Two powerful members of Congress sent a sharply worded letter to Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, KSTP reports. They want Jesson to answer some pointed questions about Minnesota's $4 billion Medicaid program. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, fear the state has improperly received roughly $500 million in federal Medicaid reimbursements in the past decade. Jesson has said an independent auditor will look into it.

Dayton seeks Medicaid cost savings

The Dayton administration is asking the federal government to approve changes to Minnesota's Medicaid program that could save the state $151 million over five years, the Pioneer Press reports. Some of the savings would come through a proposal that asks the federal government to pay for state costs in mental health care, which the feds may not go for, one observer says.

Minnesota pioneering new system for paying Medicaid providers

Minnesota is the first state to gain federal approval of a new system of paying hospitals and clinics that treat Medicaid patients. Officials say the system will reward providers that keep patients healthier and cut costs. When hospitals succeed in saving the taxpayer-funded program money, some of the savings will be shared with the hospitals.

UnitedHealth 2Q net income rises 5.5%

Rising enrollments for Medicare and Medicaid plans helped boost Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group in the second-quarter. The biggest U.S. health insurer says net income rose 5.5 percent to trump Wall Street expectations.

Medicaid numbers soar in Minnesota

The number of Minnesotans on Medicaid shot up at nearly twice the national rate over the past two years, while state costs soared by 40 percent to surpass $4 billion for the first time. There now are about 733,000 Minnesotans in the state-federal health insurance program for the poor -- called Medical Assistance in Minnesota -- an increase of 125,000 in two years, according to a new federal study.

Minnesota's Medicaid program draws more scrutiny

Add the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to the list of federal agencies investigating the Medicaid program in Minnesota. The agency that runs the federal government's two key health insurance programs wants answers to questions about how Minnesota sets payment rates for managed care organizations in the state's Medicaid program.

Lower health spending gives state budget a boost

Officials expected about 90,000 low-income families to sign up for Medicaid, but that estimate turned out to be too high. But advocates for those families tell the Pioneer Press the savings isn't necessarily a good sign; they say those families still need the help, they're just not getting it.

Michele Bachmann calls for Medicaid oversight

With her presidential campaign behind her, 6th District Michele Bachmann hosted a press conference calling for routine audits for state and federal low-income health insurance programs. The proposal comes after word that Minnesota is part of a federal probe into the possibility the state inflated premiums, increasing reimbursements for HMOs.