It’s fair to say that a comprehensive health and human services bill approved by the Minnesota House recently focuses on addressing a number of statewide problems and improving the lives of those in need of medical care.
First, it captures savings from waste, fraud, and abuse within our public programs, and directs that money to long-term and community-based caregivers. During the first few months of 2015, our non-partisan legislative auditor estimated that between 81,000 and 132,000 residents were either wrongly placed in or ineligible for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare. He estimated these gaffes cost Minnesota's taxpayers between $115 million and $271 million.
As part of this bill, the auditor’s recommendations for fixing this issue would be implemented and the cost savings would be dedicated to a special “5% Campaign” account. This would give raises up to five percent to those who work with disabled and vulnerable adults.
The legislation also transitions Minnesota to the federal health insurance exchange, and makes several key reforms to rein in MNsure.
It also contains a number of proposals that better address the future needs of our elderly and their loved ones. They include assisting nursing facilities facing hardship with remodeling and renovation needs; providing assessments that assure aging adults aren't wasting money on costly, unneeded services; studying technology and determining how it can help improve seniors' quality of life; and creating programs designed to produce more Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) for our long-term care facilities.
The bill also repeals daycare unionization authority and includes a number of reforms from the Select Committee on Affordable Child Care, which take the first steps toward seriously addressing access to quality, affordable childcare.
After significant debate, the comprehensive health proposal was approved by a 72 to 57 vote, and now heads to the Minnesota Senate for further discussion.