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Proposal to Cut Funding and Shift Costs Under Fire

Throughout the 2010 Minnesota Legislative Session, AARP has been working hard to fight two proposals in Governor Pawlenty’s budget: cutting long-term care funding and repealing Minnesota’s equal rates law.

In testimony, letters, ads and one on one meetings, AARP has repeatedly made these points:

  • The repeal of Minnesota’s longstanding “equal rates” law 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.
  • And, the budget cut proposals to both nursing homes and home and community based services put Minnesota’s frail elderly 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 care in serious jeopardy,” said AARP State Director Michele Kimball.

AARP members from around the state are very concerned about what these proposals could mean to loved ones in long-term care– and many of them are calling and emailing to urge their individual lawmakers to reject the proposed cost shift and avoid cuts.

So far, more than 3,500 calls have been made from AARP members to their individual legislators – along with thousands of emails. AARP staff and volunteers continue to testify in opposition to repealing rate equalization and cutting nursing homes. Many AARP volunteers have met personally with their representatives, and many have even attended committee hearings on these important issues.

You can still weigh in on these important issues. Send an email to your legislators.

AARP has testified that cuts will lead to fewer staff in this already fragile system. Repealing equal rates will shift costs on to families who are paying out-of-pocket and force more Minnesotans on to Medicaid sooner, which will cost the state more. The so-called “spend-down” will happen much more quickly to thousands of Minnesotans per year if our equal rates law is repealed. Over time, this will cost the state substantially more.

In several other states without rate equalization, the difference between the rate paid to nursing home by Medicaid and the rate charged to a private pay resident has grown substantially.

In Alaska, for example, residents who pay their own way pay $131 more per day than the Medicaid rate; in Connecticut, $134 more per day is paid and in New York $109 more per day is paid. In Minnesota, residents would eventually experience similar differences -- resulting in thousands of dollars per month of increased charges to residents who pay their own way -- for no additional care.

“We are urging legislators to reject the effort to repeal rate equalization and the proposed cuts to long-term care providers,” said Kimball. “We must protect Minnesota’s tradition of providing quality care.”

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