Health and Human Services
Up to 34,000 additional adults between the ages of 21 and 64 and who do not have children could be added to the state’s Medical Assistance rolls.
Currently, MA benefits cover childless adults who earn 75 percent of the federal poverty level.
HF9, sponsored by Rep. Thomas Huntley (DFL-Duluth), would expand benefits to those earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The bill was approved as amended by the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee and referred to the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee.
Moving the adults without children from MinnesotaCare to MA would lift a $10,000 cap on hospitalization expenses for those adults and would remove an asset limitation.
Supporters said lifting the hospitalization cap would encourage consumers to go to the doctor or hospital earlier, reducing emergency visits and saving money overall. And because they would be covered under MA, hospitals would be providing fewer uncompensated services, whose costs they may have passed on to paying customers.
The federal government plans to provide a 100 percent match for the cost of MA services provided to those newly enrolled for three years. The federal match is reduced to 90 percent in future years.
Republican members asked for provisions that would address what would happen if the federal government defaulted on its reimbursements, given the current status of the federal debt.
Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe) questioned whether a residency provision requiring enrollees to only show “intent to reside” in the state would open the program to non-state enrollees.
Rep. Tony Albright (R-Prior Lake) objected to the continued coverage for abortions. He also doesn’t believe the state should become more reliant on federal payouts, especially as Congress teeters nearer the so-called “fiscal cliff.”
- Sue Hegarty
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