Mental health services for children and adults, assistance for poor families, vulnerable adults, and home-based elderly adults would suffer the most from $154 million in cuts to a health and human services budget bill making its way through the Minnesota House of Representatives.
And while lawmakers delayed or removed some painful cuts to nursing homes and hospitals, the bill cuts several services for disadvantaged Minnesotans in the coming year, according to Minnesota Budget Bites, including:
* $22 million in cuts to mental health services for children and adults.
* $10 million in cuts to grants to counties for serving vulnerable children and adults subject to abuse.
* Cuts to the state’s welfare program that eliminate eligibility for families earning 110 percent of the federal poverty line and families that have a car worth more than $7,500. In addition, families living in subsidized housing would see their assistance cut $100 a month, and $4 million was cut from a job skills program for recipients.
* Home-based disabled adults receiving Medicaid assistance would see their eligibility restricted in a plan similar to Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s budget proposal.
On the positive side, there are no more cuts to the General Assistance program for adults without children, the bill reverses unallotments for dental care, none of Pawlenty’s unallotment cuts are made permanent, and the bill anticipates adopting the early expansion of federal Medicaid programs in the federal health care reform bill.
That last part would make recent cuts in General Assistance Medical Care unnecessary, but to make them happen, the state would have to match the federal money with dollars from the state’s Health Care Access fund, which would leave the fund with a $410 million deficit by 2013.
Everybody’s budgets count on $400 million in federal health care dollars that haven’t been approved by Congress yet and might not be by the Legislature’s May 17 adjornment deadline.