The 2,400-page federal health care bill will likely take state budget officials months to parse thoroughly. Nobody knows at this point exactly how much money will will ultimately trickle down to Minnesota’s coffers. But it seems highly likely that additional potential revenue streams will be discovered as the legislation is vetted.
Case in point: DFL legislators called a press conference this morning to announce that Medicaid patients with chronic conditions who receive care through “health care homes” will have 90 percent of their insurance tab covered by the federal government through 2013. That’s up from 50 percent for all other Medicaid recipients.
“Minnesota is really, really well positioned among all the states in the country to take advantage of this money,” said Rep. Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, noting that 73 percent of the state’s health clinics are “working toward” being certified as health care homes, and 40 certifications are already in the pipeline. “Because we have a certification process actually in place, we’re ahead of the game compared to most states.”
Health care homes — which Rep. Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, called “not a place, but an approach to care” defined by the use of an interdisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, social workers and others — are intended to reduce costs and provide higher quality service. In 2008, the Legislature passed a bill that establishes a licensing process for such facilities. While it’s uncertain how many individuals would qualify for the 90 percent match, and therefore impossible to predict exactly how much money the state might receive, the health care home funds could help patch a significant budgetary hole in the 2012-13 biennium.
Rep. Thomas Huntley, DFL-Duluth, has introduced legislation that would allow individuals currently enrolled in the state’s General Assistance Medical Care program, along with roughly 26,000 people covered through MinnesotaCare, to transition onto the Medicaid rolls. But the state would still be on the hook for 50 percent of that cost over the next three years. Gov. Tim Pawlenty‘s office has projected the net 2012-13 cost at nearly $900 million. The federal government would begin picking up the full tab in 2014.
But Huntley believes that most of the GAMC population would qualify for the higher reimbursement rate. “We don’t know the numbers, but it’s got to be very large,” he said.