ST. PAUL – Rep. Dean Urdahl has signed a letter asking Gov. Tim Pawlenty to restore more than $37 million for people with disabilities, the elderly and the providers who care for them.
The 2.5-percent cut to home- and community-based care providers was based on last November’s forecast for a $1.2 billion state budget deficit. However, the outlook improved by $209 million when the latest budget forecast was issued in February. Now, Urdahl, R-Grove City, and others are asking the governor to use some of that money to buy back the $37.3 million in cuts to nursing homes, group homes and day programs.
“This year we face brutally difficult choices and we acknowledge that in the letter,” Urdahl said. “But we also explained how we need to do all we can to honor our priorities by ensuring the stability of core services for Minnesotans with disabilities and the elderly. We must do all we can to eliminate another rate cut to some of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Urdahl said the Legislature also must address the county-to-county reimbursement disparities for caregivers in the area. He authored a bill to close the gap by providing a bump to those on the lower end. He also crafted legislation to protect the pensions of nursing home and long-term care providers.
“Our long-term care industry has received inconsistent and inadequate funding over the past 10 years and we must reverse this troubling trend of declining financial support,” Urdahl said.
Dean Urdahl represents District 18B in the Minnesota House of Representatives. The district includes most of Meeker County and a portion of Wright County. This is Urdahl’s fourth term in the Legislature after being elected in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008.