A budget bill passed in the Minnesota House of Representatives proposes a 3% raise for employees at Minnesota nursing homes.
Budget Disagreements in the House
The bill addresses the $11.2 billion budget of general funds being appropriated for Health and Human Services programs. The omnibus bill, which passed in the House with a vote of 70 to 64, would reduce the overall HHS budget by $150 million over the next two years.
Heavy debate was placed on this topic, with members of both parties fighting over whether the cuts are necessary or not. Although nursing home employees receive a pay raise in the proposed bill, opponents of the budget cuts, mainly Republicans, argue that they will affect the most vulnerable in the state, financially hurting Minnesota nursing homes and hospitals.
Will Minnesota Nursing Homes Be Negatively Affected?
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt expressed his frustration with the Democratic Farmer Labor party (DFL) for supporting a budget that includes $2 billion in proposed tax increases and allocates funds to programs less important than Long Term Care. “Democrats have put money toward bee habitats, snow-making equipment and tree museums,” Daudt said. “In fact, Democrats are handing out more money to every single budget area except this one.”
House Majority Leader Erin Murphy claims the budget will save the state millions of dollars while also honoring their “commitment to the vulnerable”.
Compromise Between Two Sides
The House and Senate began negotiations on the bill last Wednesday. The DFL party holds the majority in both sections of the Minnesota Legislature.
They each passed bills with similar target numbers around $11.2 billion, but the contents of those appropriations were vastly different. The House bill spends more money on the Statewide Health Improvement Program, while the Senate version spends more to reform the MinnesotaCare health insurance program.
The director of Ecumen, a leader of senior housing, said he hopes to see the lawmakers “put some money into long term care… without going to the tax payer every time.”
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