Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and State Sen. Sean Nienow (R-Cambridge) held a joint news conference to discuss problems with Medicaid reimbursement rates paid to doctors in Minnesota. Both are introducing legislation increasing accountability and transparency. When the questioning turned to Rep. Bachmann's ethics problems from her 2012 presidential campaign, aides closed in blocking reporters and photographers and ushered her out of the room. Aide Deb Steiskal blocked Star Tribune reporter Rachel Stassen-Berger, left and aide Brian Gordon, right, blocked cameramen John Cottew from Fox 9 and Art Phillips from WCCO, backing into them and pushing them out of the way.
Aide Deb Steiskal blocked Star Tribune reporter Rachel Stassen-Berger, left.
Dental patient Julie Zimmer, center, told how difficult it was when South St. Paul dentist Dr. Mike Perpich was forced to close his practice last June due to low reimbursement rates paid by the state.
At the news conference U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and state Sen. Sean Nienow on Tuesday said they continued to be concerned about federal and state payments for Medicaid, which they say need a proper audit.
They say the potential problems go back years and could mean the payments to health care companies outstrip the cost of services. The result, they suggested, could be that money spent leads to higher profits rather than better care.
The lawmakers brought with them a host of medical providers and patients, who complained that reimbursement rates for providers have not kept up with the need. Neither Bachmann nor Nienow, R-Cambridge, proposed increasing the reimbursement rates.