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.
“I thought we were all in agreement that reducing health care costs is a top priority for the Legislature, yet this bill raises health care taxes by billions,” said Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township. “I also thought we were on the same page regarding the strong need to support our nursing homes, but facilities throughout the state would receive cuts through this bill. Let’s just say I will be looking for major changes to take place before this bill is considered for final approval because it has some major flaws and really fails our priorities.”
Urdahl said the bill also 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.