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AARP Fighting to Protect Nursing Home Residents from Cuts and Loss of Equal Rates

Hundreds of AARP members have been calling and emailing their state legislators this session to help protect their loved ones who rely on nursing home care. The Governor has proposed cutting long-term care funding and repealing Minnesota’s equal rates law – and AARP wants the Legislature to reject these proposals. They will amount to a cost shift on to residents and their families who have saved their entire lives and are now paying out-of-pocket nursing home costs. Plus, the proposals put nursing home residents in danger of lower-quality care.

“Minnesota has a strong tradition of good quality of care in our nursing homes – and these proposals put that quality in serious jeopardy,” said AARP State Director Michele Kimball. “Cuts will lead to fewer staff and poorer quality. Repealing equal rates will shift costs on to families who are paying out-of-pocket and force more Minnesotans on to Medicaid sooner. Both are bad policies with dire long-term consequences.”

Minnesota’s “rate equalization” law prohibits nursing homes from charging private-pay nursing home residents more than what they get from serving a patient on Medical Assistance. This law has helped ensure that all residents are given the same care, regardless of their ability to pay.

Repeal of the law will not only take away this protection from discrimination in care, it will also shift costs on to residents who currently pay for their own care out of pocket.

“These are the teachers, the farmers, the small business owners of our state who saved and did the right thing,” said Kimball. “They should not be punished for doing the right thing.”

AARP also rejects the notion that this repeal will raise any money.

“We are concerned that this cost shift will only force Minnesotans with savings on to Medical Assistance faster,” said Kimball. “This does nothing to improve quality care – and nothing to help the state budget woes. In fact, over time, it will cost the state substantially more.”

AARP is also urging lawmakers to reject the proposed cuts to long-term care which affect both nursing homes and home and community-based services, like meals on wheels and home care. A 2.5 percent cut could lead to a reduction in staffing and quality care for Minnesotans who rely on these critical long-term care services.

There are two ways you can reach your legislators about these important issues. Call the AARP hotline to be connected to your legislators at 1-800-480-4397.

Tell them to stop the cost shift and avoid cuts to our most vulnerable Minnesotans.

Or, you can send an email to your state lawmakers about this important issue.