Last week at the Capitol, the January Forecast was released, a bill on Medical Assistance Expansion was passed by the Senate and I have exciting family news to share.

My wife, Janel, and I are excited to announce that our son, Drew, is going to be a big brother. We are expecting twins in August!

January forecast looks positive

The state received great news last week from the Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB). The January 2013 Economic Update revealed that state revenues exceeded the November Forecast.

Minnesota's net general fund receipts totaled $3.066 billion in November and December, $114 million (3.9 percent) more than forecasted.

As a result, we are currently $2.6 billion ahead of budget for the current biennium. This means our state's cash flow and budget reserves are full, and we have paid back half of the school shift.

You can see the full January 2013 Economic Update from MMB by following this link: www.mmb.state.mn.us/doc/fu/13/update-jan.pdf.

MA expansion passes Senate

The Senate passed Senate File 5, the Medical Assistance Expansion bill, last Thursday. Senate File 5 expands Medical Assistance Eligibility for persons up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Guideline (FPG) for parents, children ages 19 and 20 and single adults without children.

In addition, this legislation makes federally required changes to the Medical Assistance program by implementing new federal regulations for determining eligibility.

This bill saves the state of Minnesota $129 million in the next biennium and $239 million in fiscal year 2016-2017 by substituting federal dollars for state dollars to cover the cost of healthcare for the working poor.

Currently, this population is covered under Medical Assistance up to 75 percent FPG and MnCare up to 250 percent with the 200-250 percent population going into the Healthy Minnesota Program that was passed in 2011.

In total, there is expected to be $1.163 billion federal dollars spent to expand coverage for this population over the next four years.

As always, you are key to helping me understand the issues that affect you. I welcome and encourage you to get in touch with me and share your input, comments and concerns at (651) 296-5649 or email sen.jeremy.miller@senate.mn.