Sen. Franken helps state officials protect coverage for 130,000 MinnesotaCare recipients

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Washington, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) today (Thursday, Feb. 7) praised the decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow programs like MinnesotaCare to continue after he spent the last month diligently working behind the scenes to protect the program that provides health insurance to 130,000 Minnesotans in need.

Under the Affordable Care Act, MinnesotaCare, which provides quality health insurance to Minnesotans who are low-income and do not have other insurance, should receive federal support. However, HHS has been stalling in the implementation of this important provision. Yesterday, HHS gave a timeline and framework for states like Minnesota to pursue a Basic Health Plan, which will allow MinnesotaCare to continue.

Sen. Franken personally appealed to President Obama and numerous top officials in his administration, including HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, to ensure MinnesotaCare would be protected. Sen. Franken has sent three letters to HHS requesting timely support for MinnesotaCare. Last year, he and his colleagues sent a letter to Secretary Sebelius requesting state guidance on the Basic Health Program, and in early January, he sent a second letter to Secretary Sebelius urging her to work with states to provide the necessary guidance on implementing a Basic Health Plan. Later that month, Sen. Franken led a letter by the Minnesota delegation to Secretary Sebelius asking her to partner with the state to preserve MinnesotaCare.

“Minnesota leads the nation when it comes to delivering health care to families that need it,” said Sen. Franken. “I have made it one of my highest priorities to ensure that health reform supports MinnesotaCare, taking the concerns of Minnesotans to top officials, including the President. I’m relieved that MinnesotaCare will be protected, and that Minnesotans won’t lose the coverage they already receive. I’d like to thank the President for listening to Minnesota as his administration works to implement the Affordable Care Act.”

“This announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services is good news for Minnesotans,” said Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. “Senator Franken has been a champion for MinnesotaCare throughout this process, and I thank him for his leadership.”


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