SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Minnesotans would have better access and face fewer barriers to high-quality, affordable healthcare thanks to a proposal put forward by Senator Melissa Wiklund (DFL-Bloomington) Thursday, which comprised the first piece of what will be the $775 million omnibus Health and Human Services budget.
“The intent of the Senate health care package is to immediately provide accessible health care coverage to targeted populations, such as children, youth, and people in the individual market who cannot access meaningful care due to high out-of-pocket costs,” said Sen. Wiklund. “This bill implements structural changes to fix the invisible barriers to health care and sets the foundation necessary to build a successful health care system that works for every Minnesotan.”
Thursday’s package of bills, SF 49, includes several pieces to help Minnesotans access high-quality healthcare including establishing an Easy Enrollment program at MNsure and the Minnesota Department of Revenue, implementing a state-funded cost-sharing reduction program for people with incomes between 200% to 250% of the federal poverty guidelines beginning January 1, 2024, creating a Health Care Affordability Board and Health Care Affordability Advisory Council, and allowing a public option for Minnesotans through a MinnesotaCare Buy-In.
“Together, these proposals represent a substantial step forward for health care access in our state,” said Sen. Wiklund. “While there is more work we would like to do, all of us should agree that we must take practical and immediate steps to help Minnesotans get care they can use, and this package does just that.”
Other highlights of the bill include:
- Continuous coverage in Medical Assistance for children up to age 6 (SF 531)
- Public program coverage for undocumented children and youth up to age 19 in MinnesotaCare
- Eliminate cost-sharing in Medical Assistance (Governor’s proposal)
- Increase payments to navigators who help Minnesotans apply for and enroll in health coverage from $70 to $100 (in original SF 2265)
- Study of implementation and costs of a universal health care system in Minnesota (SF 1771)
Today’s legislation is just the first part of what will be the omnibus Health and Human Services budget. Those second pieces will be discussed Friday and next week. SF 49 was moved to the Senate Finance Committee.