In his first action as our state’s Governor, Mark Dayton has signed an Executive Order to expand the state’s Medicaid program which will bring $1.2 billion in federal funding. His order will result in many benefits to our state and its citizens and I applaud his decision.
Expanding the state’s Medicaid program will have an immediate effect on Minnesota. New and improved health care coverage will be provided to 95,000 Minnesotans, and 20,000 health care jobs will be created or retained. With an economy that is continuing to struggle, both of these facts are welcome news.
Under this new plan, Minnesotans currently enrolled in MinnesotaCare or GAMC (paid for with state dollars) will be moved into Medicaid (paid for with half state and half federal money). Medicaid will provide more comprehensive benefits and the reimbursements to providers and hospitals will help them to provide better care at a fairer price.
The average family now pays a hidden tax (higher premiums and cost of care) of $1,017 per year to cover the cost of the uninsured. Early Medicaid provides the best way to reduce future health costs – by providing the funding necessary to drive market-wide payment reform.
Hubert H. Humphrey once said, “The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” With this decision, I believe Gov. Dayton passed the first test.
As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions as needed. Please visit my Senate website at senate.mn/senatorwiger. I also encourage you to visit me at the Capitol, or let me know if you’d like me to stop by your home or apartment. Also, please tune in to my local cable TV show, “Your Capitol: What’s Up?,” which appears on public access channels 15 and 16.