ST. PAUL – House Democrats on Thursday are expected to pass their Health and Human Services Finance bill (H.F. 2414) which increases health care costs, cuts funding to nursing homes and fails to prevent rampant fraud in Minnesota’s childcare and other public programs.
The bill includes an extension of the health care provider tax that will add more than $2.5 billion to the cost of Minnesotans’ health care over the next four years, and includes changes to nursing home reimbursement rates that result in $68 million in cuts to Minnesota nursing facilities. The bill also fails to extend Minnesota’s reinsurance program, which could cause premium rates to skyrocket next year.
“There is no better way to say it than this is simply a terrible bill,” said Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls. “It cuts nursing homes at a time the state has a $1 billion surplus. It raises taxes on health care by billions even though Democrats have promised to reduce health care costs. And it fails to adequately address fraud that is widespread in child care and other state programs. This bill is nowhere close to ready for enactment and I hope an upcoming conference committee subjects it to a drastic overhaul before it comes back to the House for a vote on final approval.”
Nornes said the bill includes minimal changes to combat rampant fraud in public programs. Republican efforts to strengthen program integrity, prevent fraud, and increase penalties for fraudsters were blocked on the floor.