ST. PAUL – The House Democrat majority on Thursday passed its Health and Human Services Finance bill (H.F. 2414) which increases health care costs, cuts funding to nursing homes and fails to take effective measures to prevent fraud in Minnesota’s childcare and other public programs.
The bill reinstates the health care provider tax which will add $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.
“It is very disappointing to see the hard-won funding improvements we put in place over the past four years for our rural nursing homes put on the chopping block,” said Rep. Lueck, R-Aitkin. “I am not willing to accept this and will work hard to undo this unwarranted and unnecessary step backward. That opportunity will come when the House’s bill is reconciled with the Senate’s version. There is no excuse for the governor or my friends across the aisle to be cutting nursing home funding. We are not in a financial crisis, this is simply the wrong thing to do.”
Lueck said the bill also includes only minimal changes to combat the fraud recently confirmed after a detailed investigation by the Legislative Auditor’s Office into the state administered childcare program.
Efforts to amend H.F. 2414 to strengthen program integrity, prevent fraud, and increase penalties for fraudsters were blocked during a lengthy debate on the House floor Thursday. The bill is now in the hands of the Senate.