Budget bills continue to work their way through committee, and we're expected to start passing bills off the House floor in the coming weeks. House Republicans introduced our Health and Human Services (HHS) omnibus bill yesterday, which tackles an important issue that I've been working on since coming to the legislature in 2011.
Waste, fraud, and abuse in our public programs costs our state millions each year. A recent legislative audit report found that 17% of people were not eligible for the public program they were enrolled in. While the audit does represent a small sample size, I believe it's the canary in the coal mine when it comes to how we track eligibility for public programs.
Even if 5% of people are ineligible for any given public program, we can save the state tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars simply by doing a better job verifying eligibility.
As a member of the HHS Finance Committee, I'm proud of the bill that was put together. Our bill is working to bend the cost curve, getting health care costs under control while protecting and strengthening mental health services, investing in our senior care centers, and providing a cost of living increase to those who work in home and community-based programs and care for our most vulnerable.
HHS spending cannot continue on the pace that it's on without consuming all other parts of the budget. Instead of waiting for the budget crisis, Republicans are taking the lead, making responsible reforms that will save taxpayers hundreds of millions and ensure continued access to quality health care.
Avian Flu Emergency Funding
14 counties in west central and southwest Minnesota have been impacted by the recent avian flu outbreak. Fortunately, avian flu has yet to spread to any farms in our community.
Yesterday, the House took action to address this growing problem, suspending the rules to pass $893,000 in emergency funding to help state and local officials as they work with federal health officials to get this problem under control.
It's important to note that there is no current risk to the food supply, and health officials have been doing an outstanding job coordinating their response and working to keep our food supply safe. It's my hope that this funding will help stop the avian flu in its tracks.
Please continue to keep the farmers and producers in your thoughts and prayers; Minnesota turkey farmers have lost hundreds of thousands of turkeys to this terrible disease, which is causing anxiety and headaches for our poultry industry.
Have a great weekend,