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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Commissioner Ehlinger Statement on Governor Dayton’s Budget Proposal

Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger issued the following statement today in support of Governor Mark Dayton's budget plan:

Governor Dayton's 2017 budget plan tackles some of the biggest public health challenges facing Minnesotans. His plan delivers common-sense health care reforms and makes smart public health investments to protect and enhance Minnesota's biggest competitive advantage – a high quality of life for all Minnesotans.

Recognizing the health insurance cost and access challenges facing so many Minnesotans, I am pleased to see Governor Dayton call for a new public option for health insurance via MinnesotaCare. I am also encouraged by his proposal to restore the provider tax – the critical funding source for our Statewide Health Improvement Partnership and other initiatives essential for maintaining the quality of our health care system.

Beyond these health care reforms, the Governor's budget includes funding to modernize our aging drinking water systems. His plan helps communities around the state protect drinking water from the source to the tap. The plan also extends a helping hand to private well owners and small communities, ensuring that they can get the technical support and resources necessary to ensure that all Minnesotans have safe drinking water no matter where they live.

Governor Dayton's budget makes a high-value investment in our future by investing in home visiting services proven to give at-risk parents and their kids a better shot at a healthy start – enhancing their quality of life and reducing future needs for social services spending.

Governor Dayton also focuses on closing the state's troubling disparities in health status across racial, income and geographic lines, proposing grants to help Minnesota's American Indian communities in their fight against opioid addiction and support community engagement efforts to bring health data systems into better alignment with the state's changing demographics.

Finally, I find it encouraging to see that as the aging baby-boom generation swells the ranks of those in long-term care, Governor Dayton includes a much-needed boost to protections for older Minnesotans. His plan adds new inspectors to ensure timely investigation of maltreatment allegations involving nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. The investment ensures that the state can provide families with faster responses to their concerns.

Minnesota is overall a healthy state, but faces some significant challenges in maintaining that status. Governor Dayton's budget addresses these challenges in a strategic and effective way. His investments will benefit the health of Minnesotans today and into the future.

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