Originally posted on CBS Minnesota:
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota House passed a health and social programs budget late Monday that gives nursing home and long-term care workers a small salary increases, but some lawmakers questioned whether the increases are enough for financial challenged homes in rural areas.
The Democratic-sponsored, $7 billion health and human services bill passed on a mostly party-line vote of 70-64, with a few crossovers. It includes a 3 percent pay hike for nursing home workers and 2 percent for long-term care workers. The bill’s sponsors said the bill would also give about 600,000 additional Minnesotans access to some form of health insurance in the next two years, although some of those costs would be covered by federal and not state funds. The bill also steers new money to expanding access to mental health treatment for students.
The bill includes several new ways for the state to raise money for health programs. It would increase a state surcharge on hospital budgets from 1.56 percent to 2.63 percent, a move that’s likely to be felt mostly at Mayo Clinic and suburban hospitals that serve fewer medical assistance patients. The measure also would collect about $50 million by making HMOs return excess operating reserves fed by government insurance programs.