St. Paul —On Thursday, the Minnesota Senate passed a families-focused Health & Human Services budget bill. The legislation supplies critical funding for the Departments of Health and Human Services while ensuring agency accountability to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.
“This bill focuses on lowering health care costs for families by increasing price transparency, support for local pharmacies, and reimportation of prescription drugs,” said Senator Rich Draheim (R-Madison Lake). “These are proven strategies to save Minnesotans money on every day health care costs while also enhancing the programs to support Minnesotans and help them emerge from the pandemic.”
This bill lowers costs for prescription drugs by improving drug price transparency and allowing the importation of lower-cost, FDA-approved drugs from partner countries, including Canada. Additionally, the bill builds off of Pharmacy Benefit Manager reforms from previous sessions to help cut out unnecessary middlemen and rein in drug costs while supporting our local pharmacies.
The budget focuses on working families by improving maternal and newborn care with in-home nurse visits, extending Medical Assistance coverage for enrollees after delivery of a baby, and requiring a regular report on maternal and infant health. Maternal outcomes have been worsening in the United States and this report will help identify what changes could ensure women have healthier deliveries.
The investments in the services for Minnesotans with disabilities help them live with greater independence. The spending in the state’s childcare programs is targeted to keeping more providers in business while getting children high-quality care to prepare them for success when they enter elementary school.
Other highlighted provisions include:
- A Personal Care Assistant rate increase of roughly 20% over the Governor’s proposal, leading to more disabled Minnesotans living in their communities with their families.
- Utilize the savings to invest in critical needs like local public health and childcare services.
- Appropriations for Home and Community Based Service Providers to help provide affordable care to people with health conditions in their own homes.
- School-linked Mental Health Grants and School-Linked Substance Use Disorder Grants so our students who have been through a tumultuous year of pandemic strain are supported.
- After a year of COVID-driven stress, increased funding for mental health in the budget will help Minnesotans cope.
- Funding for court-appointed counsel in child protection cases.