The Health and Human Services portion of the 2011 special session budget agreement was devastating, containing over $1 billion in painful cuts to programs and families that are undoubtedly hurting some of the most vulnerable Minnesotans.
Unfortunately, although the budget picture was a little better this year, there was little funding available to fix many of the problems created last year. The 2012 omnibus Health and Human Services (HHS) bill spent about $18 million in FY 2012. Positive aspects of the HHS omnibus bill include a one-year delay of the relative PCA wage cut, restored Emergency Medical Assistance coverage for chemotherapy and dialysis services, revisions to the MA-EPD program to allow eligibility for disabled people past the age of 65, amended corporate foster care language that will prevent bed closures in this biennium, $1 million in nursing home moratorium funding, a one-year delay of the 1.67 contingent care cut for waiver providers, and a potential decrease in the congregate living rate reduction for certain waiver clients if a federal waiver is approved.
With the state facing another $3-$4 billion deficit next year, I fear that more draconian cuts will be made to the Health and Humans services budget hurting the most vulnerable, unless revenues are raised.