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Prioritized spending will be how legislators are judged

To the editor:

As a doctor in Ortonville, I have an opportunity to work with area caregivers as they seek to do amazing work on behalf of our seniors. Now that the economy has picked up and our state is running a surplus, the state has some business to take care of as it relates to our seniors and their caregivers.

Majority Leader Erin Murphy came to the region recently and with Rep. Jay McNamar talked about a variety of legislative initiatives that have already been taken care of, and others that remain, as they close out the 2014 legislative session.

One of the needs that is left unfinished, especially with a budget surplus, is a 2014 rate increase for nursing homes. I am told there is a 2015 increase contained in a recent spending bill, but, of course, that the budgets for 2015 and beyond aren’t able to be dictated by this current Legislature. So a 2015 increase is merely a suggestion.

Our facilities, which do such amazing work for seniors, can’t spend that “suggestion” on anything or use it to make up for years of tough budgets.

The truth is, we need Rep. McNamar, who has been a strong advocate for our seniors, to make sure his leadership understands this. How they prioritize spending when we have surpluses is ultimately how this Legislature will be judged.