Any Minnesotan, regardless of income, could buy their health insurance through state-run MinnesotaCare — one especially controversial measure in a two-billion-dollar health and human services funding package the Democrat-controlled Minnesota House passed Tuesday. Senate Republicans warn it’s another step toward government-run health care and will likely vigorously oppose it during upcoming negotiations. House Democrats’ bill would also increase eligibility for the SNAP program — food stamps — to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. There are a number of provisions that aim to control prescription drug prices. Improved access to mental health services is a major focus of the bill, as is assistance for homeless Minnesotans. The legislation would also send additional help to child care facilities, in particular those dealing with extreme financial hardship.
The health and human services supplemental budget bill, prompted by the state’s nine-plus-billion-dollar budget surplus, will be one area of intense negotiations between Democrats and Republicans in the closing weeks of the legislative session.