Sen. Isaacson: The Health and Human Services Budget is Fiscally Irresponsible and Shifts Paying for Programs into Future Budgets
Sen. Isaacson Statement:
“Today the Senate Republican majority cut more than $335 million from health and human services and masked the severity of the cuts through dishonest budgeting. This bill is fiscally irresponsible. It makes numerous promises the republican majority can’t keep at a time when we have a $1.6 billion budget surplus. The bill uses one-time money for ongoing programs and they shift payments out into the future – putting future budgets in jeopardy. These cuts are not just unnecessary, they are unsafe. The bill makes cuts to direct care and treatment, including the St. Peter Security Hospital, puts the safety of treatment staff at risk, and reduces the state’s ability to assure quality, clinically sound care to some of the state’s most vulnerable individuals.”
BACKGROUND: GOP HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES BUDGET BILL
The bill provides funding for FY 2018-19 for the Department of Human Services (DHS) and Department of Health (MDH) as well as many health-related boards, but the Republican-led bill is predicated entirely on shifts and gimmicks. Through payment and policy delays the bill pushes over $454 million of Health and Human Services spending into the FY 2022-23 biennium. The bill funds ongoing programs with one-time money and unnecessarily uses sketchy budget tactics at a time when the state has a $1.65 billion surplus.
With a General Fund cut of $335 million in FY 2018-19, the bill also cuts funding for child care assistance, reimbursement rates for hospitals and doctors, funding for the St. Peter Security Hospital, funding for assessment and support planning for long-term care services, an 8.5 percent reduction for the Department of Human Services central office, and a 7 percent base reduction for the Department of Health.
The bill doesn’t include funding for child protection, foster care or permanency programs, funding for the St. Peter Security Hospital Staffing, and many of the proposals in the bill will take the state out of compliance with federal requirements.
Funding shifts to FY 2022-23:
Shifts over $454 million into FY 2022-23 with payment and policy delays:
o Disability waiver rate setting (DWRS) modifications: $18.8 million
o Inpatient hospital rebasing delay: $40 million
o Capitation payment delay May 2021: $197.656 million
o Capitation payment delay April 2021: $197.656 million
The bill eliminates the guaranteed renewability requirement for health plans in Minnesota. Guaranteed renewability has been on the books in Minnesota for 25 years and removing it will leave consumers vulnerable to plans being yanked out from underneath them when it’s time to renew their health insurance policy.
The MA reimbursement cut to Minnesota hospitals and providers and the delay of inpatient hospital rate rebasing will adversely affect hospitals and creates a disincentive for more providers across the state to offer care for MA program enrollees.