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Health Care bill harms vulnerable and the middle class, lack innovative reforms
Saint Paul, Minnesota - The Minnesota House enacted huge cuts to services for children, seniors, and the disabled in the omnibus health care bill, which passed on party line vote early Wednesday morning. While the bill protect early MA and prevents Republican attempts to eliminate health care for 144,000 from health insurance, nearly $1 billion in cuts will hit children, the elderly and the disabled the hardest.
“Republicans are choosing to balance this budget on the backs of children, the elderly, the disabled, and the middle class," said Huntley. “And while they cut services that our most vulnerable depend on, Republicans are protecting millionaires and wealthy special interests from contributing a penny to this budget solution.”
“Preserving early MA and health care for many Minnesotans is positive, but debilitating cuts to seniors and the disabled take us backwards,” said Murphy. “The absence of new ideas and real reforms that improve health care outcomes for Minnesotans is a real missed opportunity. We have a lot of work ahead.”
Over $50 million in cuts are made to programs that serve children in the GOP budget, including a $20 million cut to Children and Community Services grants that are used by counties to protect children from abuse and neglect. The bill also cuts programs that serve the elderly and disabled by almost $200 million. It cuts nursing home property rate adjustments and dramatically scales back rates for Personal Care Assistance (PCA) by relatives.
The bill also makes massive cuts to nursing homes and hospitals. Nursing homes are cut by $133 million and hospitals are cut by almost $500 million, with many of the deepest cuts coming in the 2014-2015 budget cycle.
“These deep cuts are a prescription for the closure of nursing homes and hospitals, especially in rural areas,” said Huntley. “This is a real job killer across Minnesota.”
Murphy said the bill included a lack of significant reform to adapt to the changing demographics and challenges facing Minnesota’s health care system.
“We didn’t reform, only deformed programs that serve some of the most vulnerable Minnesotans,” said Murphy. “Cutting care for our children and seniors not only harm Minnesotans, it prevents us from addressing the fundamental cost drivers of our health care system. We can and must do better for Minnesota’s future.”
Additional information on the HHS bill
• Cuts programs for children by almost $50 million: Child care for low-income working Minnesotans is cut by $20 million. Children and Community Services Act (CCSA) grants used by counties to protect children from abuse and neglect are cut by $22 million. The CCSA cuts will impact 51,000 children.
• Cuts programs for the elderly and disabled by almost $200 million: The bill makes massive cuts to long-term care and waiver services. It cuts nursing home property rate adjustments and dramatically scales back rates for Personal Care Assistance (PCA) by relatives.
• Massive cuts to nursing homes and hospitals: The bill cuts nursing homes by $133 million in FY14-15 and cuts hospitals by almost a half a billion. By repealing rebasing, the process by which nursing home and hospital reimbursement rates are adjusted to inflation and other local economic forces, the bill ensures state payments will not keep up with state medical inflation rates that average about 7% annually.
• Cuts county HHS funding by about $80 million and increases property taxes: The bill cuts county grants, including CCSA, Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) consolidated fund, and adult mental health. It also increases the county share for Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) and Chemical Dependency treatment.
• The bill lacks any significant reform: The GOP claims that the bill contains "historic" reforms. The only "historic" items in the bill are the massive and hurtful cuts to nursing homes and hospitals the GOP uses to make their tails target appear artificially low.
• The limited amount of reform in the bill was proposed by the Governor: The Governor offered major managed care reforms, including direct contracting and competitive bidding as part of the budget solution. These reforms were already put in place by Governor Dayton in an Executive Order. Additionally, the Governor came to the bargaining table with a federal waiver to receive a $154 million federal match for MNCare.
• Almost a half a billion dollars in managed care cuts will result in higher health care premiums for middle-class Minnesotans: The Governor proposed significant managed care reforms, however the GOP pushed for additional cuts. Managed care organizations will pass these massive GOP cuts along to private-pay consumers, meaning higher insurance premiums for middle-class Minnesotans.
• Ironically, the GOP relies on federal health care reform to balance their budget: The GOP uses federal health care reform, which they vehemently opposed, as a crutch to hold up their beg, borrow, and steal budget. The GOP creates a MNCare voucher program that is effectively a watered-down version of federal health care reform. The program will exist for 18 months until it is replaced by the more adequate federal program in 2014.
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