ST. PAUL —
“We all go home in May and our lives go on, but there will be people that will be suffering because of what we will be doing with this budget,” Huntley said.
If the cuts are enacted, Huntley said he might have to consider reducing payments to hospitals, imposing surcharges on health care providers and finding other fees.
Rep. Jim Abeler, an Anoka Republican who chaired the House Health and Human Services Committee when the GOP was in charge, said he was shocked when he saw the budget target.
“They’re raising billions of dollars and putting it everywhere like to the courts and environment, and those are wonderful,” Abeler said. “But there’s only one part of government where people could die, and that’s in our area.”
Organizations lobbying on behalf of hospitals, nursing homes, the elderly and the disabled are scrambling to shift their strategy from calling for more money to protecting what they have.
Bruce Nelson is the CEO of the Association of Residential Resources in Minnesota, which advocates for community living for people with disabilities. He said he was hoping lawmakers would give nursing home and community-based home workers a cost-of-living increase. Now he worries they might face a pay cut.
“When they don’t see an increase in their paychecks for maybe now the fifth year in a row, they’re going to move on to other jobs,” Nelson said. “And that really does compromise the quality of care for our most vulnerable Minnesotans.”