High profile Minnesota corporate recipients include Allianz, American Crystal Sugar, Ameriprise Financial, Andersen Windows, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Cargill, Ecolab, Hormel, Mayo Clinic, Medtronic, Minnesota Life, SUPERVALU, Travelers, Toro, US Bank and Xcel.
Some of Minnesota biggest local governments also cashed in, including the Metropolitan Council, the Metropolitan Airports Commission and the State of Minnesota. Minnesota counties that successfully sought the subsidy include: Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, and St. Louis. Finally, the cities of Bloomington, Duluth, Minneapolis, and St. Paul and school districts such as Anoka-Hennepin, Edina, St. Cloud, St. Paul and Stillwater all were successful in seeking additional funds as part of the federal health care law.
Several Minnesota unions also got a big share of the federal health care funds, including Minnesota Council Number # 5 of AFSCME, Carpenters & Joiners Welfare Fund, Education Minnesota, 789 United Food & Commercial Workers, Minnesota Teamsters Construction Division, Sheet Metal # 10 Benefit Fund, and the Twin City Pipe Trades.
The program was scheduled to end on January 1, 2014 when state health insurance exchanges are up and running, according to the healthcare.gov website. As word of the government give-away has spread, however, there seems to have been something of a run on the fund. In 2010, the fund was drawn down $535 million funneled to 253
entities. Since then, the number of recipients has skyrocketed to more than 5,000, leading the federal government to abruptly decide to stop accepting applications on May 6, 2011.
This is just the latest in a series of revelations related to hidden clauses and costs in the health care act. In January, FFM reported that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services granted 24 Minnesota public and private entities with approximately 14,000 enrollees a waiver from the Affordable Care Act. In a previous report, FFM revealed that more than 100 staff members working for Minnesota congressional committee chairmen or ranking members were exempt from a key requirement in the controversial health care reform bill recently passed by Congress and signed into law.