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.
“Make no bones about it, this is about as bad as a health and human services bill can get,” said Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent. “How can Democrats cut nursing home funding when the state has a $1 billion surplus? How can they raise taxes on health care by billions after promising to reduce health care costs? To top it off, they are abandoning Minnesota’s nation-leading reinsurance program and replacing it with something that will help fewer people and leave the door open to massive premium spikes.”
Swedzinski 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.