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Saint Paul, Minnesota – As the clock struck midnight House Republicans continued debate on a proposal bill that makes significant cuts to services for the disabled and elderly while eliminating thousands of private sector jobs in hospitals and clinics.
“When you look at how bad this bill is for Minnesota, I can understand why they chose to save the public debate for the middle of the night," said Murphy. “When the sun shines, Minnesotans need to know what Republicans really want to do to health care in Minnesota – eliminate coverage, cut jobs, and harm our seniors and the disabled.”
The House GOP proposal would repeal early Medicaid enrollment which Governor Dayton signed via an executive order in January. The result of this repeal would cost Minnesota hospitals and health care providers billions of dollars resulting in the elimination of an estimated 20,000 private sector jobs. In addition, over 105,000 Minnesotans would be added to the rolls of the uninsured. The repeal would revert Minnesota to the severely underfunded triaged General Assistance Medical Care program. The bill also rolls back cost saving, bipartisan reforms passed in 2008.
“Going backwards is usually the wrong direction, but it’s especially bad when we know the result will be devastating,” said Murphy. “We know that repealing these reforms will hurt our hospitals, hurt our local economies, and hurt our most vulnerable citizens.”
The proposal also includes severe cuts to services for the elderly and disabled. $46 million is cut from nursing homes and elderly services. $228 million is cut from programs that allow the disabled to live independently in their homes. Murphy said these cuts are a broken promise from Republican leaders.
“On day 1, Republicans said they would protect seniors, children and the disabled – this bill clearly breaks that promise,” said Murphy. “This is another reason why Republicans probably preferred debating the bill when fewer people were paying attention.”
Despite making cuts with serious pain for elderly and the disabled, the bill is not built in a fiscally honest manner. Almost $1 billion of the “savings” in the bill are unverified by non-partisan fiscal analysis. In particular, $300 million in savings are booked from an unlikely gamble that a Global Medicaid waiver would be granted by the federal government. Murphy said booking these “fantasy” savings is extremely irresponsible because it would likely force severe cuts to things like nursing home rates and other vital services when reality sets in.
“When this hope on a prayer doesn’t come true more people will suffer,” said Murphy. “It’s fundamentally dishonest to Minnesotans and a very irresponsible way to govern.”
Murphy said she hoped to continue a debate with Minnesotans about the Republican agenda to move Minnesota backwards on health care – in the daylight.
“The stakes are too high for Minnesota’s future to let Republicans off the hook without hearing from Minnesotans,” said Murphy. “We need to go out into Minnesota communities and ask our citizens what this bill does to jobs, to our seniors and disabled, and to our state’s future.”
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