January 24, 2013

Governor Dayton’s Budget Proposal – Health Care Reform

The state budget plan released by Gov. Mark Dayton yesterday seeks to end  the cycle of deficits and put the state on a firmer financial foundation.  We’re just starting to dig into the details of the budget and will talk  about taxes and other issues in future blog posts. Today, we’ll focus on health care reform.

Governor Dayton’s budget preserves affordable health care for low- and moderate-income Minnesotans through two proposals.

For low-income working Minnesotans, the budget takes advantage of the opportunity to help 145,000 currently uninsured Minnesotans get affordable  and comprehensive health insurance by expanding eligibility for Medicaid  for children and pregnant women with incomes of up to 275 percent of  federal poverty guidelines, and for most other adults with incomes of up to  138 percent of federal poverty guidelines.

The proposal also recommends a number of reforms to comply with the federal Affordable Care Act and remove barriers to enrollment.

This will result in net savings for the state of $117 million in the FY  2014-15 biennium, because federal funds will cover a significant portion of  the cost.

The Governor also seeks to preserve MinnesotaCare, a signature health care  program that helps hundreds of thousands of working families access affordable health insurance.

MinnesotaCare is in jeopardy due to changes resulting from federal health care reform. The Governor’s budget directs the Department of Human Services  to negotiate with the federal government to preserve seamless coverage for  individuals and their families as their income increases above 138 percent  of the federal poverty guidelines.

Both of these actions are essential to preserve – and improve – the health insurance options available for low- and moderate-income families that allow Minnesota to enjoy one of the lowest uninsurance rates in the nation.    

The Dayton Administration deserves thanks for their leadership on making these two issues a priority.

Watch for our upcoming blogs on the Governor’s budget proposal. In the  meantime, you can check out links to the Governors plan.

The Minnesota Budget Project, an initiative of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, provides independent research, analysis and advocacy on budget and tax issues, emphasizing their impact on low- and moderate-income Minnesotans and the organizations that serve them. Our mission is to provide interested citizens, elected officials and community leaders with timely and accurate information so that they can become more active and effective participants in the state and federal public policy debates.