Minnesota Hospital Association

Policy & Advocacy

rules, regulations and comments

The Minnesota Hospital Association continually monitors state and federal rules and regulations to keep members informed and advocates on behalf of members regarding the impact of regulations on the state’s hospitals and health systems. MHA submits comment letters to share recommendations and feedback with the appropriate government organizations and health care stakeholders. Examples of rules and regulations that MHA addresses include those implementing federal or state health care reform efforts, changing payment methodologies, establishing community benefit or other standards for tax-exempt organizations, or modifying government oversight of health care activities.

March 29, 2018

MHA comments on SF 3611

March 29, 2018     

Chair Michelle Benson and Committee Members
Senate Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee
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 uninsured.   

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