Minnesota politicians and nursing home activists are uniting to slam a proposed budget that would cut provider payments by nearly $200 million, despite a $1 billion surplus.

House Democrats on Thursday passed an omnibus spending bill that includes changes to reimbursement rates resulting in at least $68 million in cuts to the state’s nursing facilities. That total would balloon to the much larger number when including the loss of federal match dollars and reduction in private pay rates due to Minnesota’s rate-equalization law.

“While the House majority party described these reductions as bending the cost curve, that is not the reality for the majority of Minnesota’s nursing homes and the estimated reductions to some will be catastrophic,” Patti Cullen, president and CEO of Care Providers of Minnesota, told McKnight’s Friday.

The Health and Human Services Finance Bill passed the House Thursday. A companion HHS budget will be heard in the Senate later this week. Cullen noted that the Senate bill is much different and does not include SNF cuts. By May 1, lawmakers plan to begin joint discussions to reconcile the two bills.

Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R-Ghent) also blasted the budget proposal on Thursday. Along with millions in nursing home funding cuts, it extends the healthcare provider tax that would add more than $2.5 billion to the cost of care in the next four years.

“Make no bones about it, this is about as bad as a Health and Human Services bill can get,” Swedzinski said in a statement. “How can Democrats cut nursing home funding when the state has a $1 billion surplus?”