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Legislative News and Views - Rep. John Petersburg (R)

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PETERSBURG: HHS BUDGET SHOULD FULLY FUND NURSING HOMES, SENIOR CENTERS

Monday, April 22, 2013
ST. PAUL—State Representative John Petersburg, R-Waseca, said the Minnesota House majority’s plan to cut $26 million dollars next biennium from senior living has rural nursing homes very concerned. Over two dozen members from the GOP’s Rural Caucus participated in a press conference Monday to highlight the proposed cuts, and called on House Democrats to fully fund the promises made to Minnesota seniors.
 
“I have deep concerns about the potential impact a $26 million dollar cut would have on our senior centers and nursing homes in our community, and the rest of Greater Minnesota,” Petersburg said. “These cuts represent a broken promise to our Greatest Generation.”
 
Petersburg explained that nursing homes have been forced to do more with less for years, and now the DFL’s irresponsible budget cuts will jeopardize 115 senior living facilities who are already struggling, 15,000 long-term care workers, and countless rural communities.
 
“With double-digit increases in many other budget areas, it’s simply irresponsible to be underfunding these senior care facilities. I will work with legislators, Democrat or Republican, to find the funding to fulfill the promises made in the budget passed last biennium. With so much wasteful spending in each of the budget areas, I’m confident we can find that money.”
 
Petersburg said that House Democrats are claiming an increase in nursing home funding in their budget through a COLA ($14 million) increase, but he explained that the “increase” is actually paid for by a $19 million shift/decrease from the Alternative Payment System. This $5 million reduction, plus other miscellaneous reductions amounts to a net cut of $26 million dollars in the 2014-2015 biennium baseline. He went on to say that $26 million dollars, at minimum, was needed to maintain current service levels at nursing home and senior care facilities across the state.