May 31, 2017
MDH Commissioner Statement on Signing of HHS bill by Governor Dayton
Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger issued the following statement today regarding Governor Dayton’s actions on the budget bills that emerged from the 2017 legislative session.
I appreciate the actions taken by Governor Dayton on the budget bills that were sent to him by the Legislature. These bills are far from perfect, but I am pleased that the Health and Human Services (HHS) budget bill includes a number of provisions that support and strengthen the health and well-being of Minnesotans around the state.
Despite the Legislature's insistence on HHS cuts of $463 million in fiscal years 2018 and 2019, the HHS bill provides much-needed resources to strengthen the health of our youngest and most at-risk Minnesotans, improve existing protections for vulnerable adults and better position our state to respond rapidly to disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies.
I applaud Governor Dayton for taking a stand against Big Tobacco by objecting to the elimination of the inflator on cigarette taxes and opposing the tax break for premium cigars. Too many Minnesotans still suffer and die from tobacco-related illness. The tobacco tax changes in recent years have helped push down smoking rates; now is not the time to reverse course.
We all agree on the importance of healthy people and healthy communities regardless of our ideological perspective. While we continue to work through our differences in how we can best achieve these shared goals, I am thankful for all who make the effort to protect, maintain and improve the health of all Minnesotans.