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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL)

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House Republicans are making the wrong choice to cut health & human services and ignore opportunities to improve outcomes for Minnesotans

Friday, April 07, 2017

SAINT PAUL – Today, the Minnesota House is expected to take up the omnibus health and human services finance bill. Despite a $1.65 billion surplus, House Republicans are choosing to cut health & human services by nearly $600 million, leaving no room for investments to improve outcomes for Minnesotans.

“We need to address the real problems Minnesotans face in order to keep their families healthy,” said Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL—St. Paul). “We have an opportunity to invest in better health care for all Minnesotans, but the wrong choices are being made. These choices will hurt Minnesota families, and we can do better.”

Republicans passed a reinsurance bill earlier this session under the guise of helping Minnesotans facing high premiums in the individual market. The reinsurance bill will give the insurance companies $542 million with no guarantee it will reduce premiums or improve healthcare access for anyone.

“Instead of making sure that Minnesotans have access to the health care they need, this bill would throw our current system into chaos,” said Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester). “It cuts funding that counties need to decide who is eligible for public programs, crippling that system. It repeals our insurance exchange, MNsure, and puts Minnesotans at the mercy of the Federal insurance exchange--which may soon be repealed. It pays for new spending with made-up savings that will never materialize, then cuts payments to healthcare providers to save money when those schemes fail. The bill is full of shifts, tricks, and gimmicks when Minnesotans need better access to quality health care that they can afford.”

The Republican bill fails to invest in affordable childcare, neglects needed (and promised) raises to home healthcare workers who care for seniors and the disabled, doesn’t adequately address opioid abuse prevention, and showcases the wrong choices Republicans are making to give the surplus to corporations and the rich & well-connected instead of investing in all Minnesotans.