Governor Tim Walz promised a budget that invested in education, health care, and community prosperity. And that’s exactly what he signed into law.
Every Minnesotan deserves access to quality health care at a price they can afford. That’s why Governor Walz protected the health care of 1.2 million Minnesotans and worked to maintain stability in the individual health insurance market. The budget creates innovative and effective solutions to some of the biggest challenges our state is facing with mental health, the opioid epidemic and elder abuse.
Check out some of the health care highlights in the budget below:
Health Care Access Fund
Minnesota’s provider tax provides a critical funding stream for the state’s Health Care Access Fund, which was created to increase access to care, contain health care costs, and improve the quality of services for millions of Minnesotans. The Health Care Access Fund provides essential health care coverage through the MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance programs and supports public health activities through the Minnesota Department of Health. The budget:
- Continues a 1.8 percent tax on health care providers that helps ensure nearly 1.2 million Minnesotans receive essential health care services.
- Repeals the sunset provision for the provider tax, which would otherwise expire at the end of 2019.
- Maintains stability in the individual health insurance market for consumers across the state.
Rural Mental Health
Farmers and other rural residents statewide are experiencing high levels of stress, linked to farm production challenges, financial difficulties, changes in the social fabric of rural living, and other factors beyond their control. The budget:
- Invests $468,000 to expand on collaborative rural mental health efforts, including one-on-one farmer counseling and a 24-hour hotline over four years.
- Adds one additional Farm Advocate to the current team of trained advisors, who provide one-on-one assistance for Minnesota farmers facing a crisis caused by either a natural disaster or financial problems.
The Department of Human Services supports many programs and services for Minnesotans living with mental illness. The budget:
- Invests $7 million in suicide prevention resources, including a statewide 24/7 suicide hotline.
- Provides grants to communities across the state to address local mental health concerns.
School-Linked Mental Health Resources
Untreated mental health conditions can be a significant barrier to learning and educational success. State infrastructure grants support school-linked mental health services throughout Minnesota to increase accessibility for children and youth who are uninsured or under insured and improve clinical and functional outcomes for children and youth with a mental health diagnosis The budget:
- Invests $9.6 million in school-linked mental health grants to expand services statewide for K-12 students.
Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics
Substance use disorder and mental illness commonly go hand in hand, but it is rare in Minnesota to be able to get treatment for both conditions in the same place. Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics are an innovative model of care designed to increase access, improve services and serve as a one-stop shop for mental health and substance use treatment. The budget:
- Provides $18 million for five new behavioral health clinics over the next five years to expand the use of this emerging evidence-based approach in Minnesota.
Opioid Epidemic Response
Minnesota’s crisis with opioid addiction is devastating families and communities across the state and country. Opioids account for more overdoses than any other drug. Most Minnesotans who enter treatment complete it and show considerable improvement. The budget:
- Holds pharmaceutical companies accountable by requiring them to pay a fee to provide local communities with the resources they need to address opioid addiction, intervention, treatment, and recovery.
- Provides an additional $70 million in federal money to improve the quality of our substance use disorder treatment system.
- Reimburses counties and tribes for child protection costs related to families harmed by the opioid crisis.
- Makes it easier for Minnesotans to access treatment for substance abuse by removing red tape in the doctor’s office.
Across the state, the direct support workforce is not keeping pace with the growing demand of an aging population and people with disabilities who need services and supports. Qualified and available direct support professionals are the cornerstone of home and community-based care and services for people with disabilities, but their wages are significantly lower than the average wage of workers in competing occupations. The budget:
- Addresses the workforce crisis for people with disabilities by increasing rates to providers to maintain and grow quality workers.
- Raises pay for personal care assistants, who help take care of Minnesotans with disabilities.
Health Care Expansion
Minnesotans with disabilities were often forced to spend more of their income to access quality, affordable health care. The budget:
- Expands Minnesota’s Medicaid buy-in options for adults and children with disabilities to access affordable health care.
Protections for Seniors and Vulnerable Adults
As our population ages, Minnesota is seeing a significant increase in the number of people seeking long-term care, like nursing homes, assisted living, and in-home care. The state’s policies and regulatory infrastructure failed to keep pace with the rapid growth and change in this field and struggled to address a sharp increase in the number of maltreatment reports. The budget:
- Creates a licensure framework for assisted living facilities with enforceable safeguards for residents.
- Establishes a bill of rights for residents, stronger consumer protections, and uniform standards for facilities providing dementia care.
- Gives residents the ability to install a safety camera in their living space.
This information was submitted by Gov. Walz's office.