March 29, 2018
Chair Michelle Benson and Committee Members
Senate Health and Human Services Finance and Policy
3109 Minnesota Senate Building
St. Paul, MN 55101
Dear Chair Benson and Members of the Committee:
The Minnesota Hospital
Association (MHA), on behalf of our 142 hospital and health care system
members, encourages you to vote against SF 3611. The bill calls for seeking a
federal waiver to impose work and community engagement requirements for certain
Medical Assistance enrollees.
MHA has a long-held position
and core value that every individual should have health coverage, and we
understand that the government has a role in paying for that coverage. We do
not support making state public program coverage available to everyone, but
rather providing state public program coverage to our most vulnerable
residents, including those who have low incomes. Accordingly, we support
Medical Assistance coverage for people who earn less than 138 percent of the
federal poverty guidelines (FPG).
This bill, on the other hand,
will create new barriers for these individuals to obtain and keep coverage and,
inevitably, result in many people losing coverage and joining the ranks of the
With more uninsured residents, commercial insurance costs
will go up. MHA’s members are acutely aware that hospitals’ uncompensated care
goes up as the uninsured population increases. A portion of those uncompensated
costs inevitably will be borne by employers and individuals through higher
premiums and deductibles.
In addition, work and community engagement requirements will
adversely impact our state budget. First, they will result in additional government
bureaucracy and higher administrative costs. And, second, the federal
government currently pays 90 percent of the state’s costs to obtain managed
care plan coverage for this low-income population. To get or keep coverage,
some of these individuals will show they are eligible for Medical Assistance
due to a disability resulting in a loss of federal funding and the state paying
50 percent, instead of 10 percent, of the costs of their coverage.
It is doubtful that work and community engagement
requirements will result in any decrease in the number of people who earn less
than $16,000 per year.
SF 3611 will leave more people without health coverage,
indirectly increase insurance costs for employers and individuals, further
strain our health care delivery system, and unnecessarily increase government
spending and bureaucracy. Therefore, we
urge you to oppose this legislation.
Thank you for your consideration of our comments.
Lawrence J. Massa, M.S., FACHE
President & CEO