Children's at the Capitol: Pediatric health care in the state budget

As the conference committee begins its work to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the HHS budget, it’s an important time to reach out to legislators and ask them to protect Children’s hospitals and health care for kids! Act now to protect pediatric health care.

State lege process

With the end of the Minnesota legislative session fast approaching, policymakers are getting down to brass tacks in passing a balanced budget for the next two years. A big part of that budget is dedicated to Health and Human Services (HHS), and many of the programs that kids and families who receive care at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota rely on are funded through that pot of money.

Both the Minnesota House and Senate have passed their HHS budgets. These bills are now headed to conference committee, where representatives from each body will craft one version of the bill that goes to Governor Dayton for his signature.

The following is a summary of where key Children’s issues stand:

The good news:

  • Both the House and Senate have balanced their HHS budgets without cutting Medicaid rates to providers.
  • The Senate bill includes modest temporary rate increases for inpatient hospital and physician services.
  • The House bill includes a Medicaid surcharge (a temporary tax that is paid back through rate payments) on hospitals. Currently, this proposal appropriately accounts for Children’s high Medicaid population.

Our concern:

  • Our team is closely following funding for graduate medical education (MERC). This program suffered massive cuts in 2011, which forced Children’s to discontinue funding for several pediatric-specific training programs.
  • This year, we are advocating for restoration of those funds. The House bill includes a full restoration of the funding while the Senate proposal would likely result in further losses to Children’s graduate medical education program.

Speak up to protect children’s health care today!
We are asking those whose senator or representative are on the HHS budget conference committee to send an email asking them to support the House position on MERC funding and to ensure that any hospital surcharge proposal accounts for high Medicaid providers. Find out if your legislators are on the conference committee!