Lawmakers seek MinnesotaCare, Medicaid contracts delay after UCare dropped

Updated: 5:52 p.m. | Posted: 5:03 p.m.

Several Democratic and Republican state senators want DFL Gov. Mark Dayton to delay implementation of 2016 Medicaid and MinnesotaCare contracts out of concern bidding may have been "flawed."

At the center of those concerns is the decision by Dayton's Department of Health and Human Services to strip one major provider, UCare, of the vast majority of its customers.

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UCare lost many of its low-income Minnesota clients to other insurance companies in the state bidding process. State officials said UCare simply lost out on the 2016 contracts because its products didn't score as high as the competition on cost and quality measures.

UCare has sued, accusing officials of violating state laws in awarding the contracts. A Ramsey County District Court judge plans to rule on an injunction request by the end of the week.

State lawmakers need time to study what happened in the bidding process, said state Sen. Kathy Sheran, DFL-Mankato, who chairs the Senate Health, Human Services and Housing Committee.

"Legislators are anxious and would like a delay in the implementation of this so that we can consider some ways that we'd be able to reassure legislators that the process was deliberative and fair and really measured the things that were of concern," said Sheran, one of 11 Democratic and Republican lawmakers who wrote to Dayton asking him to put the contracts on hold.

"UCare bid for the state's business on the same level playing field as its competitors. In previous years, when UCare was successful, it expressed no complaint about the process," said Dayton's Deputy Chief of Staff Linden Zakula in a statement. "We believe that seeing this process through will deliver further savings to taxpayers, and provide better quality health care for recipients."