The conference committee for the health and human services budget bill has been meeting all week searching for consensus between budgets in the House and Senate that are hundreds of millions of dollars apart.
The committee has taken no formal action, focusing first on a detailed walk through of every article in the bill. Conferees have been discussing the differences in the bills and asking questions of state agency representatives on the budget and policy provisions in the bill. The articles discussed so far include provisions on prescription drugs, health care and insurance coverage, and public health. Republicans and DFL members have a significant amount of work ahead to agree on the large number of policy and budget items in the bill.
There remains significant disagreement on what the state should do to increase access and affordability in health care for Minnesotans. The Commissioner of the Department of Human Services spoke at length about the proposals in the governor’s budget that would help people buying insurance in the individual market and provide better value in our public programs for prescription drugs and dental coverage. Despite the strong case for these innovative ideas, many of the governor’s proposals continue to face opposition from Senate Republicans.
The conference committee is expected to meet several more times in the coming days in order to reach agreement on a final bill. (HF 2414)