The omnibus health and human services finance bill focuses on initiatives intended to ensure equity and emphasizes prevention-focused approaches meant to address issues by “getting upstream.”
The division intends to continue hearing testimony Wednesday. Discussion is slated to continue Friday with the division mark-up.
The omnibus health and human services finance bill would be primarily funded in the 2020-21 biennium through a $128.57 million increase from the General Fund, totaling about $15 billion in overall spending.
A large chunk of the bill — about 150 of its 998 pages — comes from HF90, sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Schultz (DFL-Duluth), which would take a “comprehensive” approach to protect Minnesotans from elder abuse, including the licensure of assisted living facilities and protections against retaliation.
The bill would also repeal the sunset of a 2 percent “Provider Tax,” projected to bring in $991.55 million in revenue over the upcoming biennium.
This “significant … funding mechanism” is used to improve access to health care and supports statewide prevention work, said Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm.
Malcolm called the bill, as a whole, “very, very significant” and commended its prevention-oriented approach that will save “money … time, and … lives.”
The bill is “an extremely well-balanced set of strategies to improve the health of Minnesotans,” she said.
Deputy Human Services Commissioner Claire Wilson also stressed the bill’s potential to improve access for people.
“We do believe it will also move us closer to ending the alarming disparities that are faced by so many members of our community,” she said.
Wilson expressed concern, however, over the bill’s proposed funding for IT system upgrades, which falls short of the $20 million included in the governor’s budget. Modernization is critical for the department to “move forward into a human-centered delivery system.”
Other notable provisions include:
What’s in the bill?
The following are selected bills that have been incorporated in part or in whole into the omnibus health and human services finance bill.