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Friday, September 10, 2010

Minnesota Governor: Obstructionist?

From the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities:

Update on Minnesota’s ability to pursue federal healthcare reform grants
September 10, 2010
by mnccd

Many of you are already aware that last Tuesday, Aug. 31, Governor Pawlenty announced an executive order requiring all state agencies to send any federal grant requests related to federal healthcare reform through his office, noting that he would likely not allow these grant requests to move forward unless they are required by law. The federal healthcare reform legislating that was passed this past year contains a variety of opportunities for states to apply for specific healthcare reform grants from the federal government. At this point it is unclear exactly how much this action will cost the state of Minnesota, but some estimates place this number as high as tens of millions of dollars in lost potential grant money. You can view a Star Tribune story on the decision here.

Minnesota’s disability community will feel the impact of this decision. First of all, federal monies that would have come to MN in the form of specific healthcare reform grants would have lessened the strain on Minnesota’s overall Medicaid budget. Secondly, a number of the state grant opportunities outlined in federal healthcare reform legislation were designed to support states in their work to serve individuals with disabilities in their homes and communities, rather than in institutions. The inability of Minnesota to move forward with applying for these grants will negatively impact our state’s progress in this area.

As a specific example, federal healthcare reform legislation included a $200,000 planning grant for a Money Follows the Person program that would have supported states in helping individuals with disabilities to move out of nursing homes and into the community by providing an increased federal Medicaid match for the individual’s first year in community services. A Minnesota state agency’s plan to move forward with applying for this grant was stopped as a result of this executive order.

MN-CCD leaders will continue to meet with state officials and other stakeholders to discuss this issue, so stay tuned for updates.

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