The Minnesota House has passed a $7-billion Health and Human Services funding bill after debate from early Monday afternoon long into the night. Local State Representative Democrat Clark Johnson says that there are several good aspects to the bill. He says the bill protects Minnesota’s most vulnerable citizens, and gives a 3% cost-of-living increase for nursing homes and a 2% increase to long-term care. All but one of the state’s Republicans voted against the bill. Local Representative Paul Torkelson says that along with $150-million in cuts over two years, including to rural nursing homes, the bill also changes how hospital surcharge fees are distributed. Democrats defending the cuts say that hospitals will get over $1-billion in the next 2 years because of the expansion of the Medical Assistance Program. The Minnesota Senate will likely take up its version of the bill later in the week.