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Health and Human Services

Omnibus HHS budget bill passed by House

published 5/4/2010
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The House passed the omnibus health and human services budget bill 79-54 after adopting dozens of amendments during nine-plus hours of debate.

Sponsored by Rep. Thomas Huntley (DFL-Duluth), HF2614 would reduce General Fund expenditures by about $164 million in the current biennium. Most of the cuts would fall on health care and human services programs, though the bill also includes smaller reductions to public health and early childhood spending.

The bill also designates an additional $38 million in fiscal year 2011 and $53 million in the 2012-2013 biennium for Minnesota’s participation in an early federal health care reform initiative, an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program.

Legislators adopted a hotly contested amendment from Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Mpls) that would increase operating payment rates to nursing homes and long-term care facilities by removing tax breaks for corporations with operations overseas. Republicans railed against the idea, saying it was inappropriate to fund health and human services spending by changing tax policy in an amendment. They also claimed the provision would hurt Minnesota’s business climate.

An amendment from Rep. Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie) would allow the sale of out-of-state health plans in Minnesota, provided plans meet state laws and their insurers are vetted by the Department of Commerce.

The House passed the bill hours after Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he will veto it because of costs in future biennia.

Sen. Linda Berglin (DFL-Mpls) sponsors a companion, SF2337, which is scheduled to be heard by the full Senate Wednesday.

- Lauren Radomski


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