Thursday, December 29, 2005

2005 in review: Medica

Mike Hatch's embarrassing loss in his personal pursuit against his own Medica board of directors is RM's #3 political story of 2005.

This was a memorable story this year because of everything it involved. It happened right when speculation really got going about Hatch's 2006 plans. Hatch promised Minnesotans he would not run again for governor, then his daughters were miraculously acquitted in Chicago. In August he faced the Medica suit.

Many thought a loss with the Medica would end Hatch's obsessive dream of becoming governor. Despite of all these setbacks, Hatch has still chosen to run for governor.

His loss was really an embarrassment to Hatch personally. The judge in the case said that Hatch had "overstepped his bounds." Furthermore, this case showed the people of Minnesota how Mike Hatch thinks when he called a female attorney bleep bleep. Hatch also threaten this woman about taking away business from the firm by which she was employed.

"The outsiders assigned to reorganize Medica into a cost-effective, consumer-responsive health maintenance organization are not doing their jobs, argues Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch. Worse, he says they have engineered a 'hostile takeover' of Minnesota's largest HMO. That's pretty heavy criticism considering they were appointed mostly on Hatch's recommendation. The appointments followed his office's extensive audit of Allina, completed two years ago, that revealed a host of problems including wasteful spending." (Jim McCartney, 'Hatch Pans Own Medica Delegates,' St. Paul Pioneer Press, May 8, 2003)

In a victory for non-profits, a Hennepin County judge has ruled Attorney General Mike Hatch overstepped his bounds and wrongly accused Medica's board of wrongdoing. The ruling stems from Hatch's attempt to install a new Medica board of directors for the second time in four years.

In a sharply worded opinion, Judge Lloyd Zimmerman said the battle for control over Medica is over. He said the expensive, time-consuming suit against Medica and its board was only supported by overheated rhetoric and accusations of self-dealing. He said Hatch wrongly accused the new Medica's board of directors of wrongdoing. Zimmerman said Hatch's claims obscured the fact that - when the attorney general intervened at Medica in 2001 - it was government at its best protecting the public from waste and corruption. But the judge also said the results show the new board took a company from a national scandal four years ago to the number one non-profit health plan in the country. (Source: MPR Online, August 18, 2005)

In a written ruling, Judge Lloyd Zimmerman called it "unfortunate" that Medica board members were "unfairly accused" and that the historic government-private partnership in cleaning up financial abuses at Medica had descended into "overheated rhetoric and accusations of self-dealing, deception and hijacking." (Source: Star Tribune, August 18, 2005)

Animosity surfaced near the end of Hatch's testimony when [Marianne] Short recounted a conversation Hatch had with one of her partners at the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney. Short asked Hatch if he described her with two expletives to her partner and threatened to take state business away from the firm.

Hatch denied using the phrase or making the threat. He said he was only upset that his pretrial deposition could not be conducted at the Capitol where he could be close to his office at a time when state government was shutting down in June. (Source: “Sparks fly as Hatch takes stand in HMO trial,” Star Tribune, July 29, 2005)

I can't help but wonder if this loss encouraged Kelly Doran to get in the governor's race instead of the senate race. Even if it didn't, the Medica trial will be back to haunt Hatch in 2006.

No. 5: Meth

No 4: Eibensteiner Aqcutial
No. 3: Medica


At 1:19 PM, Blogger Toby said...

What happened to your post about Chuck Shumer? It was up and then it disappeared. Did you take it down after you realized how flawed your question to him was? I hope you realize that was a list of GOP-held seats that he is targeting to flip. Mark Dayton -- as you may or may not kno --, is a DFLer, so Minnesota wouldn't be on that list.

This seems to be the problem with this reactionary partisan blogging from the right. It seems to all be attack first, then think about it later.


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