Minnesota House of Representatives


State Representative Erin Murphy

331 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

For more information contact: Sandy Connolly 651-296-8877

Posted: 2010-04-14 00:00:00
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St. Paul, MN – State Representatives Tom Huntley, Paul Thissen and Erin Murphy are announcing today a plan that will remove the barrier to providing long-term, permanent health care coverage for the General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) population. The improved plan results in $1.136 billion in new federal payments to the state over three years and significantly improves reimbursement levels for hospitals and providers over the current GAMC solution.
Earlier this session, the lawmakers proposed legislation (HF 3713) that would take advantage of an early opt-in provision in the federal health care bill that will extend Medicaid coverage to GAMC recipients. The Governor expressed support for this plan, but indicated the high cost in the out-years would have to be fixed before he would sign it into law. The fiscal note for the revised plan announced today reduces that cost dramatically.
“We are confident the Governor will agree with us that this reduction in cost is so substantial, no good reason remains not to sign this legislation into law," said Huntley. “The alternative would be to watch billions in federal dollars go to Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New York, or any of the other 10 states eligible for this expansion.”
According to a report prepared by the Minnesota Management and Budget office in March, the reported net cost to the general fund in the next biennium could be as high as $881 million. By keeping the Health Care Access Fund at its current forecasted deficit level instead of using general fund dollars to make it whole, that number is reduced to just $25 million, according to a new fiscal note prepared by the Department of Human Services. Lawmakers would still need to develop a solution to the Health Care Access Fund deficit sometime prior to the end of next Session.
“From the day the Governor vetoed GAMC, I have been focused on protecting health care for the most vulnerable among us,” said Murphy. “This plan is a better deal for Minnesota as it not only protects health care for GAMC recipients for the long-term, it also provides the necessary funding to the providers on whom they depend for care. This is a golden opportunity.”
“Early Medicaid expansion gives us a chance at a real solution that actually fixes Governor Pawlenty's slashing of health care for the most vulnerable Minnesotans,” said Thissen. “We now know we can afford it. Governor Pawlenty has no more excuses to duck responsibility for the problem he created.”
This provision will be presented to the Governor as part of an HHS budget proposal that reduces the deficit by $301 million this biennium and $280 million next biennium. A hearing on the new bill language and fiscal note will be held tomorrow in the Health and Human Services Finance Committee, scheduled for 30 minutes after the end of floor session.

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