Public Policy Updates
Portico closely follows public policy proposals that impact access to health coverage and care. This past legislative session we advocated for a number of policies that were included in the final Health and Human Services (HHS) bill, including:
- A provision to repeal the sunset of the health care provider tax, which was scheduled to expire at the end of 2019. The provider tax is the main source of revenue for the Health Care Access Fund (HCAF), which funds public health investments as well as the state’s portion of Medical Assistance (MA) and MinnesotaCare. Together MinnesotaCare & MA provide health care coverage for nearly 1.2 million Minnesotans. While the new law means the health care provider tax will continue indefinitely, the tax will be reduced from 2% to 1.8%. Historically, revenue from the 2% provider tax has resulted in a consistent surplus of funds in HCAF. Reduced revenue from the provider tax will likely reduce HCAF surpluses while still ensuring that public health care programs are funded in full through HCAF.
- The Health and Human Services (HHS) omnibus bill also includes a provision that increases the application assistance payment from $25 to $70 for navigators who assist with Medical Assistance (MA) enrollments.
A selection of other health care provisions enacted in the 2019 session:
- The HHS omnibus bill will establish a Blue Ribbon Commission to identify ways to increase efficiency and find savings and better outcomes in the Department of Human Services. The results are projected to save $100 million in the next biennium (2022-23).
- The HHS omnibus bill will also extend reinsurance through plan year 2021 and establish reinsurance payment parameters for benefit year 2020.
- The omnibus opioids bill will require drug makers and distributors to pay $20.9 million in annual fees and allocates that money to combat opioid use disorders and fund public safety responses from county governments.