Senator Chris Eaton decries unnecessary, irresponsible cuts to Health and Human Services
St. Paul, Minn.—By a vote of 36 to 30 the Republican Health and Human Services bill, which cuts $335 million from this important budget, passed off the Senate floor last night. The bill is built on reforms that hurt consumers, risk the safety of patients and workers at the St. Peter Security Hospital, and will hurt area hospitals. This bill masks the severity of more than $335 million in cuts on unsustainable shifts and gimmicks at a time when Minnesota has a $1.6 billion surplus.
“Budget bills are a reflection of our values. I could not vote for a bill that diviates from the Minnesota values of caring for our most vulnerable and without thoughful fiscal managment,” said Sen. Eaton
“I have serious concerns about one-time money being used for ongoing programs and shifting of payments out into the future,” said Sen. Eaton. “These kinds of shifts and gimmicks only make the cuts in this bill even more expensive in the years to come.”
“In addition, we should be protecting consumers, not insurance companies. Republican “reforms” in the health and human services bill would eliminate guaranteed renewability, which would allow insurance companies to yank policies from consumers when its time to renew their health insurance policy,” said Sen. Eaton.
“Capitation payment shifts, meaning we pay our bills a month behind, that are used to fund this bill could also have a destabilizing effect on our health insurance market, at a time when we need to enact reforms to stabilize the market and ensure Minnesotans have access to affordable health plans and adequate networks of doctors” said Sen. Eaton.
“Finally, rural hospitals are hurt by the delay of inpatient rate rebasing. It creates a disincentive for providers to cover care to Medical Assistance patients. Rural hospitals already face unique challenges and burdening them with yet another reimbursement cut, was not something I could support,” said Sen. Eaton.