I had a conversation last night with an acquaintance in the healthcare industry – someone who works in finance for a Twin Cities healthcare provider, and who has been attending “a ton of meetings” lately with officials from the State of Minnesota about the upcoming shutdown. My source wants to remain anonymous for reasons that’ll be obvious to anyone who knows the Minnesota bureaucracy.
The memo I and several other conservative bloggers ran earlier this week is fairly common knowledge among upper management in regional healthcare; it’s fairly well known that the Administration’s goal is to create, as the memo said, “angst” which will impel people to pressure their legislators to demand passage of Governor Dayton’s budget.
“[The government healthcare administrators and bureaurcrats] understand what we’re supposed to be doing; we’re supposed to be parading sick children and dying people, getting folks whipped up”, my souce observed. “[The state wants] to create pandemonium out there; they want to cut everything cut to the bone; saying that starting July 1, create the impression that nothing (in terms of state payments) will get paid for”.
He added “One of my lefty friends, who hasn’t really been involved in all the legislative stuff, said “the Governor can’t do that…” I don’t think he’d gotten the message!”
But my source related that his source went on to say “I gotta talk to people in the department (Health and Human Services); there’s all sort federal laws; this is crazy!” In other words, not everyone in the regional healthcare industry believes Dayton’s move to defund health and human services for political leverage is legal at all. My source notes that while different states handle Medicare payments in different ways, Minnesota splits its payments 50/50 with the Feds. “If the State of Minnesota took its money up front, there’s no way Dayton can [unilaterally withhold the payments].
“One of our lawyers in DC said the same thing – the Governor can’t do that!”
Beyond the legalities, my source says we should take all “impact” numbers from the administration with big block of salt.
“I [was talking with] the to unions today – we have no plans to shut down. But I had to give admin a number of employees affected; all us finance people had to do this. We don’t knowwhat to do – I suspect we’ll see people talking about a big number of layoffs; it’s all bullshit”. He noted, as an example, that the shut down could affect up to [a very large number of full time equivalent employees] at his clinic. ” I suspect [the administration] will list these as people who will be laid off by the cuts, but it’s just not true…we’re staying open during the shutdown. If we do, we’ll recoup 95% of the money eventually; if we shut down, we’ll never see any of it”. But he adds “Every clinic I personally know is going to stay open – we figure we’ll get paid eventually”.
He works at a larger clinic, of course; smaller ones, he allows, will likely face some serious cash flow problems; “they don’t know what to do now”.
The county governments seem, according to my source, to be joining in the stonewalling. ”"I was telling [my source's county government] to get lawyered up. we better have lawsuits going on July 1. I copied county on seeing outside counsel; I was politely told to back off. Powers that be are going to hype this. Liberals in [my source's] County want to strike fear into peoples’ hearts”. The goal, said a highly-placed source to my own source, is to “ peel off a couple of moderate Republicans” to get them to support the Governor’s all-tax-hike budget.
The most frustrating part, according to my source? “Trying to get some traction”. He’s frustrated; “why isn’t the media covering this?”