To the editor:
Last Friday, the Republican majority passed the Health and Human Services Omnibus Bill 74 – 53. I voted against it, as it is a deeply flawed bill that does not prioritize the health and safety of Minnesotans.
Elections have consequences and in this case, the consequence is a Republican-backed piece of legislation aiming to cut $600 million from the health and human services budget. After years of fiscal responsibility and structural balance in the state budget, Republicans had the money to give a raise to the overworked and underpaid home health care workers. There was money to create safer environments at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter as well but those workers — and those patients — were left behind.
For the majority party to place these workers and patients in increasingly vulnerable positions by assigning them such low priority indicates either an unwillingness to put people first or a stunningly out of touch style of thinking that will be measured in poor health, injuries, and death. The elderly and the disabled stand to suffer as they lose the caregivers they need to sustain them and provide them with the quality of life they deserve.
It is the height of irresponsibility to ignore the indicators of a caregiving industry in crisis and the very apex of immorality to let that ignorance damage the lives of Minnesotans who can mount no defense against it.
This was a bad bill, happy to parade its austerity under the guise of efficiency. All it really does is leave the most vulnerable behind.
Rep. Sandra Masin