Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed

Congressman Tom Emmer

Representing the 6th District of Minnesota

Members of the Minnesota Congressional Delegation Urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to Protect Health Coverage for Over 80,000 Minnesotans

April 12, 2019
Press Release
Proposed change by CMS would significantly reduce federal payments to Minnesota’s Basic Health Plan (BHP) program, MinnesotaCare

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, and Representatives Angie Craig (MN-2), Dean Phillips (MN-3), Betty McCollum (MN-4), Ilhan Omar (MN-5), Tom Emmer (MN-6), Colin Peterson (MN-7), and Pete Stauber (MN-8) urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to protect funding for Minnesota’s Basic Health Plan (BHP), MinnesotaCare. In a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, the members asked CMS to reconsider its proposal to adjust the methodology under which BHP programs receive federal funding. If enacted, this change in rate structure would significantly reduce federal payments to MinnesotaCare, putting the health coverage of more than 83,000 enrollees in Minnesota at risk.
 

“Minnesota’s BHP now helps to ensure that tens of thousands of Minnesotans enrolled through MinnesotaCare have access to more affordable, quality health care, which is largely dependent on BHP payments from the federal government,” the members wrote. “An abrupt shift in BHP payment methodology could jeopardize coverage for Minnesotans as the state is forced to confront the funding shortfalls that would be created by a dramatic reduction in federal funding. In light of the significant consequences that this proposal could have for Minnesotans who now depend on our state’s BHP, we urge CMS to reconsider its proposed adjustment to the BHP rate structure.”
 

The full text of the letter can be found below:

 

Dear Administrator Verma:

 

We write to express our serious concern regarding the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposal to adjust the methodology under which Basic Health Plans (BHP) receive federal funding. If enacted, this change in rate structure could significantly reduce federal payments to Minnesota’s BHP program, MinnesotaCare, putting the health coverage of more than 83,000 enrollees in our state at risk.

 

On January 1, 2015, Minnesota began operating MinnesotaCare under a program that provided states with flexibility to offer comprehensive, low-cost health coverage for low-income residents ineligible for Medicaid. Since then, Minnesota has become one of only two states to establish a BHP, and fought to preserve this important coverage option when prior efforts to cut federal support were announced in 2017. Minnesota’s BHP now helps to ensure that tens of thousands of Minnesotans enrolled through MinnesotaCare have access to more affordable, quality health care, which is largely dependent on BHP payments from the federal government. 

 

In the proposal issued on March 29, 2019, CMS stated that implementing the changes would decrease federal BHP payments to states by $300 million for 2019 and 2020. Based on that estimate, reports indicate that MinnesotaCare would lose an estimated $24 million over two years as a result of the proposed BHP formula adjustments. An abrupt shift in BHP payment methodology could jeopardize coverage for Minnesotans as the state is forced to confront the funding shortfalls that would be created by a dramatic reduction in federal funding.

 

In light of the significant consequences that this proposal could have for Minnesotans who now depend on our state’s BHP, we urge CMS to reconsider its proposed adjustment to the BHP rate structure.

 

Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.

 

Sincerely,

###

Issues: