MN House Approves Health & Human Services Bill in 70-64 Vote

By KBJR News 1

April 23, 2013 Updated Apr 23, 2013 at 5:42 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - A bill providing a wage increase to health care workers in Minnesota was approved Monday night in a 70 to 64 vote in the House.

The vote came down late last night following more than nine hours of discussion on the House floor.

While the approved budget cuts $150 million, DFL lawmakers say reforms will make up for it.

The bill contains language that would include an estimated $66 million dollars through managed care payment reforms.

It also helps implement the Affordable Care Act.

It also includes raises for long-term caregivers, providing a 3 percent cost-of-living increase for nursing home providers and a 2 percent cost-of-living increase for long-term care providers.

This would be the first time in four years they've seen such a raise.

The bill also includes an increase in ability to provide mental health services for children, a measure that Rep. Tom Huntley (DFL-Duluth)
says had not been well addressed before.

"Part of the initiatives from Representative Daphne is to have actual mental health providers in schools, so kids can get their mental health treatment while they are in school. They don't have to be taken out of school and hauled away to a clinic or hospital - they can get treatment right down the hall from their classroom," said Rep. Huntley.

The bill also includes a hospital surcharge to help cover the $150 million and save the state money.

Kevin Jacobsen
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