Omnibus health and human services bill passes the House

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After more than eight hours of debate, the House passed 85-49 the omnibus health and human services finance bill. HF1362 does not change eligibility requirements for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare, but hospitals, long-term care facilities and those using public dental assistance would all receive reductions.

Sponsored by Rep. Thomas Huntley (DFL-Duluth), the bill includes delayed rebasing for nursing homes; a 3 percent cut to long-term care facilities; a 3 percent reduction to hospitals, including reducing reimbursement rates for those on Medical Assistance and General Assistance Medical Care; and limiting personal care attendant hours to 310 per month per individual.

Huntley said the bill cuts more than $400 million this biennium from health and human services and is the “best case scenario” and it depends on $1.5 billion in tax increases contained in the tax bill passed Saturday by the House. The cuts will be painful for many recipients in public programs, he added.

Simultaneously the Senate debated and then passed 40 to 23 their version of the omnibus bill, SF695, sponsored by Sen. Linda Berglin (DFL-Mpls). A conference committee is expected to work out the differences.

Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) said Minnesota leads the nation in health care standards, but the bill spends money to meet federal stimulus money requirements instead of bringing down long-term spending levels.

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