Conference committee adopts HHS agreement

Yesterday morning, the omnibus budget conference committee released the HHS agreement between the House and the Senate. The agreement includes $147 million in general fund reductions to HHS services for the current biennium (compared to the original $526 million by the Governor, $131 million by the House and $147 million by the Senate).

Some of the major components:

  • There is about $92 million in reserves available in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) account. The House/Senate agreement “refinances” about $63 million in TANF dollars to free up general fund resources. They also use another $8.2 million to improve services for low-income families, including increasing work support grants for counties, repealing the family cap for families on MFIP and providing funds for long-term homelessness services.
  • No funds are transferred from the Health Care Access Fund
  • Transfers $9 million in unspent funds for the Basic Sliding Fee child care program to the general fund…funds which could have been used to reduce the 3,700 families currently on the waiting list.
  • There are significant reductions in funding for hospitals and some for pharmacies.
  • Nursing home facilities get a cost of living adjustment.
  • All grants from the Dept. of Human Services and Dept. of Health are reduced by 1.7%
  • The agreement also adopts reductions in services for individuals with disabilities

Of course, these are just a few of the change items in the agreement. I’ve scanned in a copy of my spreadsheet so you can look for any issues that are of particular interest to you. Be warned, the original was dark, so the scanned version is even darker – but the column containing the conference committee numbers is legible. The spreadsheet comes in two parts thanks to technical limitations. Part 1 (pages 1-7). Part 2 (pages 8-12).

However, some of this could change…the committee hasn’t adopted all the components yet and they still have to consider amendments.

Ever helpful, the legislative fiscal staff is also starting to get updated spreadsheets up on the web. While HHS isn’t up as of this morning, most other budget areas are. Visit the Senate Fiscal Analysis and look for spreadsheets with a May date next to them. Of course, you can also visit House Fiscal Analysis, but it’s harder to identify which spreadsheets have been updated recently.

-Christina Wessel

About Christina Wessel

Christina served as the Minnesota Budget Project's deputy director until January 2014.
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