On December 21st, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that “starting in January, thousands of low-income elderly Minnesotans could lose government benefits intended to help them stay in their homes and out of nursing care.” Minnesota was preparing to implement stricter rules intended to make it harder for senior citizens to qualify for home-based services, potentially leaving them with reduced care or no care at all. According to the article, entitled “State to cut Medicaid benefits for the elderly,” an estimated 2,800 low-income senior citizens who currently receive Medicaid and other state assistance to help with basic living chores, such as bathing and cooking, would no longer qualify for help under the new rules. The changes had been adopted by the Legislature and signed into law in 2009 by then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Fortunately, as the Star Tribune reported yesterday, Governor Dayton has delayed the Medicaid cut for thousands of elderly, in response to “an outcry from advocates for senior citizens and the poor, Gov. Mark Dayton ordered the state Department of Human Services (DHS) to postpone them for a year.” The article reports that the Minnesota Department of Human Services estimated that about 11 percent of the 22,600 low-income Minnesotans currently receiving the Elderly Waiver would no longer meet the criteria.