Governor Dayton’s budget proposal Part 1: Health care reform

The state budget plan released by Gov. Mark Dayton yesterday seeks to end the cycle of deficits and put the state on a firmer financial foundation.

We’re just starting to dig into the details of the budget and will talk about taxes and other issues in future blog posts. Today, we’ll focus on health care reform.

Governor Dayton’s budget preserves affordable health care for low- and moderate-income Minnesotans through two proposals.

For low-income working Minnesotans, the budget takes advantage of the opportunity to help 145,000 currently uninsured Minnesotans get affordable and comprehensive health insurance by expanding eligibility for Medicaid for children and pregnant women with incomes of up to 275 percent of federal poverty guidelines, and for most other adults with incomes of up to 138 percent of federal poverty guidelines.

The proposal also recommends a number of reforms to comply with the federal Affordable Care Act and remove barriers to enrollment.

This will result in net savings for the state of $117 million in the FY 2014-15 biennium, because federal funds will cover a significant portion of the cost.

The Governor also seeks to preserve MinnesotaCare, a signature health care program that helps hundreds of thousands of working families access affordable health insurance.

MinnesotaCare is in jeopardy due to changes resulting from federal health care reform. The Governor’s budget directs the Department of Human Services to negotiate with the federal government to preserve “seamless coverage” for individuals and their families as their income increases above 138 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

Both of these actions are essential to preserve – and improve – the health insurance options available for low- and moderate-income families that allow Minnesota to enjoy one of the lowest uninsurance rates in the nation.

The Dayton Administration deserves thanks for their leadership on making these two issues a priority.

Watch for our upcoming blogs on the Governor’s budget proposal. In the meantime, you can check out links to the Governor’s plan.

-Christina Wessel

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