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Minn. House health bill has care worker pay hike

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota House Democrats are proposing a healthcare spending bill that includes salary hikes for nursing home and long-term care workers but helps pay for it with a state surcharge on hospitals.

Rep. Tom Huntley of Duluth released his health and human services finance bill on Tuesday. The Duluth Democrat admits the hospital surcharge increase will be "controversial."

Huntley says some hospitals will be able to offset surcharges federal dollars for hospitals that treat large numbers of patients on state medical assistance. He says hospitals in rural and urban areas would be least affected by the surcharges but that Mayo Clinic and suburban hospitals are likelier to take a financial hit.

The massive bill includes new spending on mental health programs including school-based mental health services and mental health crisis response.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.