St. Paul, MN – Today, the Minnesota House passed its Health and Human Services Budget aimed at building a better health system for Minnesotans after the COVID-19 pandemic. State Representative Mike Freiberg (DFL - Golden Valley), in addition to chairing the Preventive Health Policy Division, also serves on the Health Finance and Policy Committee.
“Pandemic or no, we need to invest in a health system that cares for and supports all Minnesotans, and our budget proposal sets us on that path,” said Rep. Freiberg. “We’re tearing down the barriers to health care that too many of our neighbors face, whether it’s making prescription drugs more affordable, laying the groundwork for a public option, or addressing the inequities that exist in our system. We have the resources to build a healthier Minnesota if we only choose to make it a priority.”
Minnesota has significant health care inequities, and the budget includes a variety of measures to ensure our health care framework has a race equity lens. It expands local public health grants and expands public health outreach to underserved and communities of color. One of the most significant areas of inequity is maternal health, and the budget and has several solutions to improve dignity and care during pregnancy and childbirth, including an extension of post-partum benefits under Medical Assistance (MA) from 60 days to 12 months. The budget also increases funding for lead risk assessments, enhances coverage for asthma, and makes Minnesota’s vaccine distribution system more equitable. It also contains measures to improve dental care for low-income Minnesotans, including uniform administration of dental benefits under MA and MinnesotaCare, and the addition of adult periodontal coverage to MA services.
The budget delivers new support for people with disabilities, programs for older Minnesotans, food support, economic help for struggling families, and assistance for those experiencing mental illness and substance abuse. The budget invests $25 million to address homelessness, including funding for emergency shelters, services, and support grants. It contains a $68 million investment to increase the rates and wages of personal care attendants to ensure people with disabilities and vulnerable Minnesotans receive the care they need to live with dignity and reach their full potential. To help low-income Minnesotans who have struggled during the pandemic, the budget includes a cost of living increase along with a one-time payment of $750 for Minnesotans enrolled in the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) and increases the eligibility threshold for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). To ensure county and tribal governments can continue to deliver important services, the budget has funding to address inadvertent overpayments in 2019 for opioid addiction treatments.
The bill language can be accessed here and a spreadsheet of the investments made in the budget bill can be accessed here. Video of the floor session will be available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel.