Minnesota House of Representatives
Public Information Services

Menu

Public Information Services Menu

House passes omnibus health bill that would scrap MNsure

By Tory Cooney
Rep. Matt Dean presents the omnibus health and human services finance bill on the House Floor April 7. Photo by Andrew VonBank

The House passed its omnibus health and human services finance bill, as amended, on a 75-53 vote Friday after emotional discussion.

Supporters hailed the legislation as a financially responsible way to support some of the most vulnerable members of Minnesota’s population. Opponents hold that the bill fails to address many issues and that cost-saving measures are unsubstantiated.

Those concerns have persisted since bill sponsor Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) introduced HF945/ SF800* last month. It calls for a $622.37 million cut from current spending, for $14.32 billion in spending during the 2018-19 biennium and would eliminate MNsure, the state’s health insurance marketplace.

In a morning news conference, Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) compared the Republican plan to “Taking a tricycle … and making it into a bicycle by just ripping off one of its wheels.”

“It doesn’t work,” she said. “This is a very troubling bill and we’re gonna fight like heck against it.”

The budget contains much-needed reforms that will reign in costs without requiring broad budget cuts, though the extent of those savings are difficult to predict, Dean said in an afternoon news conference.

“We have a lot of difficult choices to make,” he said. “You have to make priority decisions.”

The bill now returns to the Senate, where Sen. Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake) is the sponsor. The Senate passed its version 36-30 April 3. A conference committee will likely be convened to work out the differences.

 

Among the House bill’s funding provisions are:

While many provisions received bipartisan support during committee hearings, DFLers criticized the bill for its omissions, including investments in affordable child care, wage increases for home health care workers, changes to spenddown requirements and funding to improve staffing ratios at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter.

Rep. Tina Liebling speaks to the omnibus health and human services finance bill on the House Floor April 7. Photo by Andrew VonBank

“When did we give up on the people we said we were going to fight for?” Rep. Liz Olson (DFL-Duluth) asked on the House Floor. “This should be our come-together bill.”

Other items left out of the bill are vitally important to the function of the Department of Human Services and the Department of Health – including an operating adjustment for the departments, and an adjustment for inflation in the Medical Assistance program, DFL members of the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee have said.

The absence of an inflation adjustment in the budget means that those projected funds won’t be automatically allocated to programs, giving the state greater flexibility in where to direct the funding for the greatest impact, Dean said.

Other points of contention include measures that would eliminate MNsure and opt into the federal marketplace, and end more than $40 million in appropriations to MNsure that fund technology platforms used by counties to make eligibility determinations, Liebling said.

“There are real consequences to this proposal. It’s not a very good proposal, and it is because this Legislature, the Republicans, have favored tax cuts for the wealthy,” Rep. Erin Murphy (St. Paul) said. “Because of that, the people who are doing the work across the state of Minnesota … are sacrificed, left high and dry.”

Sixteen amendments to the bill were offered on the House Floor. Eight were adopted, six were withdrawn, one was ruled as out-of-order, and one was voted down.

 

Adopted amendments include provisions that would:

  • create an open enrollment period meant to assist small employers trying to help their employees secure individual insurance;
  • expand the information collected in an outcomes-based payment program for hospitals; and
  • suspend the registration of medical cannabis manufacturers and levy a $1 million fine if they are found guilty of illegally transferring cannabis to another person or outside the state.

 

Amendments that were not included in the bill sought to:

  • allow registered nurses in hospitals to respond to patient loads and staffing levels by pausing admissions into their units as needed;
  • dedicate some of the tax revenue from Sunday alcohol sales to support chemical dependency treatment and prevention programs; and
  • pull back the recently approved reinsurance program and use that funding to relieve Minnesotans directly through discounts, as a way of making sure they see cost reductions in health care.

A bipartisan amendment offered by Liebling, but withdrawn, is included in the Senate version of the bill and expected to receive a committee hearing in the House. The measure is intended to block insurance companies from changing which medications are covered on their plans and require more transparency about what will be included, Liebling said. 

Search Session Daily

Recent Dailies

Weary lawmakers pass final budget bills, wrap 2017 special session

(UPDATED AT 3:27 p.m. with Gov. Dayton reaction) Day three of the 2017 special session saw la...

Lawmakers pass bonding bill to close out special session

With all other omnibus budget bills agreed to, the House wrapped up the special session early Fri...

Lawmakers send governor bill to fund state government

Lawmakers late Thursday night OK’d the appropriations needed to fund state government agencies, v...

Despite veto threats, House passes mixed-bag uniform labor bill

Pleading for brevity as the Legislature entered its third day of a deadline-neglecting special se...

House repasses tax bill amended with extended Super Bowl bar hours

The omnibus tax bill, including a few extra hours for Super Bowl revelry, is headed to the govern...

With self-imposed deadline gone, Legislature still piecing together budget

When Gov. Mark Dayton, a DFLer, and Republican leaders House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) and Sen...

House again OKs transportation plan heavy on borrowing, General Funds shifts

The House passed another omnibus transportation finance bill Wednesday that would rely on General...

A hostile start to special session sees two omnibus bills passed before 7 a.m. deadline

One night of overtime was not nearly enough for the Legislature to complete its crafting of a 201...

Compromise education bill passed by House in special session

After weeks of negotiations over the best approach to reduce the achievement gap, lawmakers passe...

‘Bipartisan,’ trimmed down special session tax bill gets House approval

Called the largest tax relief package in 20 years, end-of-session negotiations produced a tentati...

Legislative leaders expect special session to last through the night

One overtime may not be enough for the Legislature to complete its crafting of a biennial state b...

Governor, legislative leaders agree on special session to finish work

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders announced shortly before the curtain clos...

House, Senate pass LCCMR conference committee report

The House and Senate voted late Monday to pass the LCCMR conference committee report, which would...

Midnight — and end of session — nears with most of budget left unfinished

(Updated: 8:25 p.m.) With mere hours left before the Legislature’s constitutionally mandated ...

More court funding, no protestor measure in judiciary and public safety agreement

Additional dollars for the judiciary, tweaked language regarding the Appleton prison, and rulemak...

Recrafted jobs, economic development bill heads to governor

The state’s economic development and commerce departments fared financially better in the second ...

House takes second swing at omnibus environment bill

Higher fees for hunting and fishing licenses are in and major changes to the buffer law are out a...

House repasses $529 million Legacy bill

The House and Senate each voted late Sunday to repass a conference committee report on an omnibus...

House, Senate send governor a second try at omnibus higher ed bill

(Updated 7:34 p.m. with floor action) After being told by Gov. Mark Dayton their first propos...

House OKs omnibus elections bill with uniform special-election days

Having local special elections take place on only five calendar days throughout the calendar year...

Renewed agriculture conference committee report passed by House

The omnibus agriculture bill was the first passed by the House as members began late Saturday nig...

New wireless technology using public property gets House approval

Hoping to pave the way for the newest advances in wireless technology, the House on Saturday pass...

No signs of movement at Capitol as clock ticks toward adjournment

(UPDATED AT 11:32 p.m.) A wet, cold Saturday might have put a damper on some Minnesotans’ pla...

Public Information Services  ·   175 State Office Building, Saint Paul, MN 55155   ·   Public.Information@house.mn