$3.5 billion bill improves health care access, removes barriers, and strengthens child care options
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Minnesotans would have better access and face fewer barriers to high-quality, affordable healthcare and child care throughout Minnesota thanks to the passage of the Health and Human Services Conference Committee Report authored by Senator Melissa Wiklund (DFL-Bloomington) Monday, which passed in a 34-33 vote.
“This budget delivers reforms and resources that will give Minnesotans access to the high-quality, affordable health care they need, increases the availability of child care statewide, strengthens the child care workforce, and makes structural changes that set us on a path to ensuring everyone in our state can get the care they need,” said Sen. Wiklund. “This bill is a gamechanger for Minnesota families thanks to the investments we are making to improve their daily lives and remove many of the unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles they face. This truly will deliver transformational change for all Minnesotans.”
The conference committee report had a budget target of approximately $3.5 billion. Highlights of the bill include but are not limited to:
1. Great Start Compensation Supports: increased compensation and benefits for the child care provider workforce statewide ($316.1 million in FY 2024-25 and $260 million in FY 2026-27)
2. MinnesotaCare eligibility for undocumented Minnesotans: allows undocumented Minnesotans to be eligible to enroll in coverage and receive comprehensive health care services for the first time (an estimated 17.6% percent of uninsured Minnesotans are undocumented).
3. Emergency Shelter Grants: grants to improve or expand emergency shelter facilities throughout the state, with 40% required for greater Minnesota ($100 million)
4. Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) Rate Update: increases rates to the 75th percentile, meaning families eligible for the program can now afford 3 out of 4 child care providers within their area ($146 million in FY24-25 and $277 million in FY26-27)
5. Public Option Analysis and Implementation Plan: robust data modeling around coverage, costs, provider rates, and designing a plan that candraw upon federal funding to reduce overall costs to the state. A final recommendation on plan design and steps necessary to receive federal approvalis due to the legislature before the 2024 legislative session and full implementation is targeted for January 1, 2027.
6. Continuous Medical Assistance Eligibility for Children: children under age 6 will have continuous MA health care coverage for a period of up to 72 months, and allows a child aged 6 through 20 to remain eligible for a period up to 12 months.
7. Additional Funding for Emergency Services for Homeless Persons:provides funding for emergency service grants to provide Minnesotans who are unhoused with essential services and emergency shelter ($30 million in FY24-25 and $55 million in FY26-27)
8. Department of Children, Youth and Families: the creation of a new department dedicated to coordinating whole-family-focused services that improve the lives of children and families through effective, foundationalservices.
Following passage of the conference committee report in the Senate, the bill advanced to the House of Representatives.