Surcharges at nursing homes proposed
ST. PAUL -- Senate Democrats suggest adding surcharges on nursing homes and health maintenance organizations to help make up for a $150 million cut to state health programs ordered by legislative leaders.
A bill unveiled Monday by Sen. Tony Lourey, the Senate health and human services finance chairman, would add an $80 million surcharge on health maintenance organizations and $16 million on nursing homes in the next two years.
The budget also caps how much can be spent on managed care programs, an expected $53 million savings.
The health and human services budget -- which mostly goes to provide health care for the poor, disabled and elderly -- would top $11 billion. That only is smaller than public school spending in the state's proposed $38 billion, two-year budget.
In his bill, Lourey, DFL-Kerrick, suggests transferring more than $400 million out of the Health Care Access Fund for other uses.
"Our committee was given a difficult task this session as the Legislature looks for savings within the budget for health and human services," Lourey said. "This legislation doesn't represent what I had hoped for as we started this session, but I believe this bill meets its target and still protects our most vulnerable populations."