Walz signs $200 million response package for COVID-19 pandemic

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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill Tuesday that will allocate $200 million to emergency programs that will aid health care and long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The emergency response package will place $50 million into the state’s public health response contingency account, and $150 million to create a health care response fund.

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According to the governor’s office, any funds that remain will be returned to the general fund after February 1, 2021.

"Our health care facilities are Minnesota’s first line of defense against COVID-19," Walz said in a statement. "I am proud of this urgent, bipartisan action to support our state’s health care infrastructure during this unprecedented public health event."

The author of the bill in the House, Rep. Tina Liebling, DFL-Rochester, notes that private health care providers who receive grants will have to provide COVID-19 screening, testing and treatment at no cost to uninsured patients.

"Uninsured patients would not be billed for services that are provided for COVID-19," she said on the House floor. "So no one in the state should need to worry."

Minnesota lawmakers pass emergency funding to combat COVID-19