The Legislature made important progress in increasing access to health care for Minnesotans last session using limited resources, and the positive balance in the February Forecast has allowed policymakers to propose additional investments in health and human services this year.
The House Health and Human Services supplemental funding bill provides $88 million in FY 2014-15, while the Senate provides $95 million.
The House and Senate bills have many similarities. They both include:
- A 5 percent rate increase for home- and community-based services to seniors and people with disabilities.
- A funding increase for nursing facilities (to fill any funding gaps that arise from a minimum wage increase).
- Improved access to educational opportunities for participants in the Minnesota Family Investment Program.
The bills also include funding for health equity provisions that work toward Minnesota’s people of color having the same access to good health that white Minnesotans enjoy. The House and Senate bills provide grant funding for health equity programs for Somali women, and the House has additional funding for grant programs that address dementia outreach, and immigrant and refugee mental health. The Senate bill carries a provision that would require the state to develop a plan for releasing health care quality data by several indicators (including race and ethnicity) that are related to health disparities.
Both the House and Senate wrapped all of their supplemental funding proposals into one omnibus bill (House File 3172). The bill passed the House on April 3 and the Senate on April 8. A conference committee will convene after the legislative Passover/Easter break to work out the differences.