Comparing health and human services budget proposalsby Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — One key piece of business to resolve in the final days of the legislative session is how to fund programs that fall under the health and human services umbrella.
The DFL-controlled House and Senate are working on separate proposals, and their plans differ significantly from Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty's recommendations. Here's a look at several key differences.
The General Assistance program provides up to $203 a month in welfare payments to about 19,000 disabled or sick Minnesotans living in poverty. The program provides the only cash assistance for many homeless adults.
Gov. Pawlenty: The governor has proposed eliminating the program and replacing it with a less expensive emergency assistance grant.
Senate: The Senate proposal does not include the governor's cuts.
House: The House proposal does not include the governor's cuts.
The future of General Assistance Medical Care, the state's health insurance program for low-income adults, remains uncertain.
A compromise plan to save the program is scheduled to take effect June 1, but most hospitals have already said they will not participate.
Senate: The bill would use a provision in the federal health care law to expand Medicaid coverage to include people who are currently enrolled in General Assistance Medical Care. Under the federal provision, states like Minnesota that already spend money to care for childless adults in poverty can start enrolling those recipients in Medicaid. States without these programs must wait until 2014.
House: The House version includes a similar plan to shift GAMC recipients into Medicaid.
Gov. Pawlenty: The governor's proposal does not include early enrollment into Medicaid. Republicans have criticized the measure, saying that the state cannot afford it. The provision would require Minnesota to contribute $1 billion over three years.
MINNESOTA FAMILY INVESTMENT PROGRAM
The Minnesota Family Investment Program provides monthly welfare grants to families living in poverty.
Gov. Pawlenty: The governor has proposed tightening eligibility rules for the MFIP program. Under Pawlenty's proposal, about 7,000 families with a disabled parent or child would lose their monthly cash assistance.
House: The House proposal does not include the governor's cuts to MFIP for households with disabled family members, but it does include other changes. For example, currently, a MFIP recipient cannot own a vehicle valued at over $15,000. The House bill would change that amount to $7,500.
Senate: The Senate version does not include any significant cuts to MFIP.