Editor's note: The following is a news release from Burnsville's State House Representative Will Morgan, (D-District 56B).
Minnesotans who want sensible, bipartisan solutions to the problems facing our citizens should cheer the Minnesota House for putting House File 9 on the fast track to the governor’s desk.
The bill would expand access to quality, affordable health care to adults and children through Medicaid and would take effect in January 2014.
The best part of this bill is that it won’t cost the state a penny until 2017. The federal government will fund 100% of the proposed expansion through 2016. Beginning in 2017, a gradual phase down in the federal match occurs, ending in 90% federal funding of the proposed expansion by 2020.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services estimates that the combination of early and full expansion of Medicaid eligibility will save the state budget more than $1 billion for the 2011-2015 fiscal period. This savings is the result of enrolling greater numbers of Minnesotans into MA, thereby taking advantage of the enhanced 100% federal match.
In addition to bipartisan support in the Legislature, the bill also has the support of the Minnesota Hospital Association, health care providers and the Chamber of Commerce.
Even conservative Republican governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, has endorsed MA expansion. “By agreeing to expand our Medicaid program just slightly beyond what Arizona voters have twice mandated, we will protect rural and safety-net hospitals from being pushed to the brink by their growing costs in caring for the uninsured; take advantage of the enormous economic benefits – inject $2 billion into our economy – save and create thousands of jobs; and provide health care to hundreds of thousands of low-income Arizonans. Saying ‘no’ to this plan would not save these federal dollars from being spent or direct them to deficit reduction. No, Arizona’s tax dollars would simply be passed to another state – generating jobs and providing health care for citizens in California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico or any other expansion state. … With this move, we will secure a federal revenue stream to cover the costs of the uninsured who already show up in our doctor’s offices and emergency rooms. … Weigh the evidence and do the math. With the realities facing us, taking advantage of this federal assistance is the strategic way to reduce Medicaid pressure on the state budget. We can prevent health care expenses from eroding core services such as education and public safety, and improve Arizona’s ability to compete in the years ahead. I’m committed to doing this, and I want you on my side. Let’s work together in an atmosphere of respect and do what is BEST for Arizona.”
Good ideas are bipartisan ideas.
With the expansion proposed under this bill, an additional 57,000 Minnesotans could be covered by MA, including some currently covered in MinnesotaCare.
Bills like HF9 show that lawmakers are serious about finding solutions for budget challenges and still improve services for Minnesotans.
Please feel free to contact me with your questions, suggestions and concerns. My office is room 401 in the State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-5387 and by email at email@example.com. You can also monitor activities at the House, track bills, watch live video and sign up for my email update list by going to http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/members/members.asp?id=15268.