Statement on end of the legislative session
Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Brooke Cunningham issued this statement today regarding the end of the 2023 legislative session.
My goal as health commissioner is to make sure all Minnesotans have the opportunity to be as healthy as possible, and I am so pleased that the health and human services budget bill (PDF) that has been passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Walz includes many significant investments in public health that will help us get closer to that goal.
Minnesota is consistently ranked as one of the healthiest states in the nation, but we still struggle with some of the worst health disparities. Through this budget, we are investing in strategies to advance health equity, foster diversity and inclusion, and strengthen community engagement. Narrowing the gaps will only be possible with the help of our partners. This budget funds the Office of American Indian Health and the new Office of African American Health and helps our agency offer more grant opportunities directly to communities.
Public health has been in the spotlight during the pandemic, which demonstrated the critical importance of emergency preparedness. This budget supports that work, and it invests in local and tribal public health to increase their capacity for core public health work in their communities. The budget also provides funds to address other big public health issues like reducing and preventing drug overdoses, supporting mental health and suicide prevention efforts, and improving health outcomes of our youngest Minnesotans.
A healthy state depends on a health care system and workforce that is strong. This budget will help to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, equitable and high-quality health care – no matter who you are or where you live. This includes addressing health care workforce shortages, and investing in better prescription drug price transparency and research into ways to keep health care costs down so we can make care more affordable for all.
We have a lot of work to do to help our state and public health system recover from the pandemic and to achieve our public health goals. I want to thank Gov. Walz, Lt. Gov. Flanagan, the legislature, our partners and advocates, and Minnesota Department of Health staff who have worked tirelessly to lift up the needs of our most vulnerable Minnesotans and fight for a budget that will help advance our mission of protecting, maintaining and improving the health of all Minnesotans.