Senate Republicans on DFL healthcare budget: “Unaffordable”, “cuts are baffling”, “ONECare is more of a slogan than a plan”

St. Paul—House Democrats rolled out an expensive and unaffordable budget for healthcare this morning. Included in their budget is a $1 billion tax increase on every trip to the doctor and dentist, every surgery and hospitalization, and every baby delivery. Every Minnesotan that uses healthcare will pay this sick tax, and those who need the most care will be paying more than the rest.

“The Health and Human Services budget is growing at an unsustainable rate, something the Walz-Flanagan administration and House Democrats don’t seem to recognize in this budget,” Senator Michele Benson, chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee said. “Without any effort to bend the cost-curve, we simply cannot afford to tax our way out of the problem.”

The Democrat House budget also cuts $68 million from Minnesota nursing home reimbursements and provides little to no explanation for how they plan to pay for the Walz-Flanagan ONECare plan.

“More Minnesotans will be in nursing homes in the coming years and will need the best care we can provide,” Senator Karin Housley, Chair of the Aging and Family Care Committee said. “The people who work in nursing homes are taking care of our parents and grandparents. Cutting their reimbursement rate is baffling. Someone needs to ask if this is really a serious proposal when the Governor and House seem to have no problem spending more everywhere else.”

“Minnesotans are generous people, and we are committed to taking care of the most vulnerable,” Senator Jim Abeler, Chair of the Health and Human Services Reform Committee commented. “When we make that commitment, we also know that we have to pay for it. There are places where we can reform services or make adjustments, but ONECare is more of a slogan right now than a plan that can actually work. I expect, along with all Minnesotans, a thorough explanation on how Governor Walz intends to pay for this plan.”

On Thursday, the Senate will be voting on a number of bills that make healthcare affordable and accessible to all. At 1:00 pm they will review SF 1, a bill focused on mental health, in a press conference at the Capitol.

“Minnesota is a premier healthcare community that leads the world in innovation. We also have the lowest insurance rates in the country, and we expect to see them go down again. That doesn’t happen by accident.” Sen. Benson concluded. “The solutions we’ve presented on reinsurance, price transparency, prescription drug costs, and the patient’s right to choose their doctor and care center are effectively revenue neutral and would lower costs for every Minnesotan. That is what a responsible healthcare budget looks like.”

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