Senate GOP Health Care Cuts Hit Seniors, Disabled, Vulnerable Kids

Senate Republicans approved a bill this week that makes deep cuts to the state’s health care safety net, jeopardizing care for more than 100,000 Minnesotans and slashing funding for the state’s nursing homes and in-home care programs.

These cuts are terrible; funding is slashed for child care, disability services, and programs for the mentally ill, the homeless, the chemically dependent, nursing homes, abused and neglected children,” Tomassoni said. “We cannot sit idly by and let Republicans dismantle the safety nets that make our state great.”

A few of the bill’s worse provisions include:

· Repealing the early expansion of Medicaid signed by Gov. Dayton earlier this year, a move that jeopardizes care for 95,000 poor and sick Minnesotans along with 20,000 related health care sector jobs.

· Putting thousands of low-income Minnesotans into unrealistic and unaffordable high-premium, high deductible private insurance plans.

· Forcing 200 “frail elderly” from the community into more expensive nursing homes, and more than 800 Minnesotans into institutionalized care.

· Eliminating optional services for Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare recipients, including chiropractic, podiatry, therapies, eyeglasses, and prosthetics.

· Cutting funding for child care and adoption grants, prescription drug assistance, mental health crisis grants, developmental disability family supports, children’s mental health screening, family planning and more.

· Eliminating state loan forgiveness programs for medical training that ensures Minnesota’s ability to recruit and train doctors and dentists in geographically underserved parts of the state.

“I opposed the bill, and supported amendments to delete these devastating cuts,” Tomassoni said. The bill also puts low-income people into high-deductible health care plans. Many argue this proposal is not realistic: on their incomes they cannot afford the high premiums and deductibles offered under private health insurance plans. More likely they will opt for no coverage at all – and end up in expensive hospital emergency rooms, with all Minnesotans footing the bill.

“If Republicans get their way, millions will be cut from vital programs that real people depend on—while the richest Minnesotans are not asked to contribute one dime towards solving our $5 billion deficit,” Tomassoni said. “In addition, Minnesota’s state economist said Dayton’s plan to raise taxes on just 5% of the richest Minnesotans along with balanced budget cuts would be better for jobs and the recovery in Minnesota than the Republican approach. Seriously, it’s time to reject these extreme Republican ideas and do what’s right for our state.”

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Senator David Tomassoni
David Tomassoni represents District 6, which includes portions of Itasca and St. Louis counties in the northeastern part of the state.

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