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As others see it: Urgent care needed on Medicaid costs

A program that takes up about 25 percent of the Minnesota budget with costs that have increased by 40 percent during the last two years should be a cause for concern on the part of every Minnesota taxpayer.

The state's share of the Medicaid program that provides health care for the poor surpassed for the first time $4 billion, according to a recent federal report.

The study shows 733,000 Minnesotans are now on the federal/state Medicaid program called Medical Assistance in Minnesota, an increase of about 20 percent over the last two years.

... The key to getting this program under control must come from all stakeholders. Already, Gov. Mark Dayton has attempted to rein in costs by negotiating with HMOs and providers on overall costs of their contracts. Some savings have been achieved.

And Minnesota is participating in some pilot programs that call for coordinated care as a way to improve care and lower the cost.

... Of course, the larger problem is the millions of Americans who continue to have no health insurance, posing even greater costs for those who are covered.

It's time state and federal leaders move to make sure Medicaid spending does not spiral out of control and create more costs, direct and indirect, for the taxpayers.