MN Shutdown Pain Likely Greatest At Nursing Homes

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Part of a state shutdown that has thousands of families worried: Nursing home workers could be declared “non-essential,” and state payments could stop. Furthermore, if there’s an extend shutdown, some nursing homes could close.

Mrytle Maki, 94, is the face of Minnesota’s government shutdown, and hasn’t been the same since she got a letter from the government.

“How would you like to get a letter like that? At 94?” asked Maki, who is a 24-year resident at Park River Estates Care Center in Coon Rapids.

The letter, from Anoka County Human Services, tells Maki that if the government shuts down, she might have trouble getting health care or lose it altogether.

It’s the kind of letter that’s frightening to thousands of seniors across the state.

“It don’t make me feel good,” Maki said.

In the event of a shutdown, Park River Estates Care Center and hundreds of other nursing homes could be hit hard. In addition to nursing home workers possibly not being considered essential, Medicaid payments could stop, medical transportation for seniors could be sharply curtailed and, most importantly, nursing home administrators say some homes could close.

“If I had staff that were acting like the politicians, in all honesty I would let them go,” says Tom Pollock, Park River Estates administrator. “I would hire people who would work together because we’ve got a common goal, and that’s the care of the residents.”

As nursing homes scramble to find money to pay workers if there’s a government shutdown, the uncertainty is leaving some seniors angry.

They say money should be cut to politicians who ‘didn’t do their jobs’.

“If nobody else is going to get paid, why should they get paid?” asked Clifford Jacobson of Fridley, who’s recuperating from a broken knee.

Maki says she’s been praying since she got the shutdown letter, and she’s not sure what will happen to her.

“It’s wrong. Why do they want to do this to me?” she asked.

Minnesota Nursing homes may take legal action next week to force uninterrupted service, even in a shutdown.

A court could decide as early as next week what services are essential, and which are not.

More from Pat Kessler
  • Carl

    The MnGOP is more concerned with protecting the top 2% of wage earners than protecting the elderly. Notice how they just keep repeating the mantra that they are “not going to raise taxes” without specifying who’s taxes they are protecting? Very deceptive.

    • zellers

      Carl you’re wrong. The GOP has no problem raising income tax on the top 2%. Remember the GOP wrote a bill That raised taxes on professional football players to build a stadium. So you see they are not opposed to raising income tax on the top 2%, we just have a protected list.

  • Linda

    The only purpose of this article is to cause anxiety to those with loved ones in nursing homes. Unless, of course, it is intended to put pressure on Gov. Dayton to quickly pass the budget. Does anyone really think that Minnesota would walk away from the frail populations in our nursing homes? Bad reporting, Pat.

    • old nurse

      Considering the funding for the care need I would think that the state does not care. Putting politics aside, the article’s intent could be to show the numerous people posting what a freeloader looks like (Not Kessler, the video). Far too many people who post on the board have no clue what the state does. The number 0f 572000 receiving benefits caused a stir. Something like 33500 are on medicaid. Perhaps the pressure is for both sides to back off a we must win senario.

    • Pat

      I really believe that the Repuclian leadership would walk away from their own parents if they thought it would save them a dime. Money talks in the Republican Party. What’s a little pain and suffering for poor people if the rich can get even richer? We all know that an old person on Medicaide is just a burden to the rest of us fine Minnesotans. Don’t we? Shouldn’t they have planned better? Isn’t it their own responsiblibty to take care of themselves? That is what I hear from the Republican leadership and that is what their budget promotes for the elderly. If it passes as written, 50% ofthe health care money from the state is gone.

      Who do you think is going to pay, Linda? Are all of those old, infirm folks going to set up coffee cans at the grocery stores for donations or, maybe, hold spaghetti feeds at the church or VFW for money for their care? What do you think?

  • Murph

    The GOP says you will get affordable Soylent Green if they win tho! Waste not ,want not!

  • Rico suave

    So the list of victims grows. Now it’s grandma, yesterday it was the horses, the day before it children being taken from their parents, the day before that it was the colleges, and I can’t remember who the victim was the day before that. EVERY DAY we get a story about the suffering that will occur if Dayton does cut the budget to keep the government going. Oh wait — I forgot, it’s the GOP meanies that won’t hike taxes (yet again) the CBS and the libs are blaming. SIGN THE GOP BUDGET MR. DAYTON! Make the cuts that are needed and keep our government open. If you don’t I will blame you, not the party who is trying to keep you from spending more than you take in.

    • ICE officer

      Show us your green card, Rico.

  • Tom Klingbeil

    If a government shutdown concerns you, tell Governor Dayton to sign the budget passed by the legislature. It’s easy to say,”Raise the taxes on the rich”, but if you pass tax increases on the job creators and maintainers, the jobs WILL go elsewhere. Just look at the new businesses in South Dakota as an example. Where did the investors come from? Why does South Dakota advertise in Minnesota?

    We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.

    • Pat


      Your “taxing job creators” argument may sell well on Rush Limbaugh and jock talk radio, but it has no reality. Rich people don’t “create jobs” unless your in the lawn mowing or car washing business. Any decent tax attorney can figure out waus for corporations to write off business growth. Tax cuts for the wealthy simeply give the wealthy more money to spend on themselves. Why would the average, low wage middle calss Minnesotan want them to be any richer? They hav ehad low, low taxes for ten years. Time for a change!

      • Tom

        Who creates the jobs? People without money? No! You may not like rich people, but the fact is, they create jobs. They do it out of selfish motives, to get more money. Maybe it’s sad, but it’s a fact of life. If you take away their ability to create and SUSTAIN jobs, they will go elsewhere. We’ve had an exodus of jobs from Minnesota because of our current tax rates. Do you think if we raise taxes on those people they will stay here? If you had a chance to break even in Minnesota or go to South Dakota and actually make money, where would you go? I would definately go where the real opportunities are. Maybe you’re better than the rest of us, but I’m pretty sure you need a job. Is your employer rich? If his/her margin shrinks from 1-2% profit, do you think they will stay? What will happen to YOU if your job moves to a state with lower taxes?

        To address your individual comments;

        Rich people do create jobs. What do they do with their money? Do they hide it in their mattress? NO! They invest it! What is investing? Investing is buying a business(or a share). What do businesses do? They create jobs! Probably yours! Even if they put it in a bank, they are allowing people to borrow their money to use.

        You say the wealthy will simply have more money to spend on themselves. What do they buy? They buy houses(construction jobs), cars(manufacturing jobs) food(agricultural jobs) Let’s even say they hire a maid(a service job) Who benefits? YOU BENEFIT! You have a job that somewhere, somebody pays for. Tax those businesses and people too high and they will leave.

        • Zellers

          @Tom Who creates the jobs?

          Was Bill Gates rich when he started creating jobs? Upper middle class by his parents but not rich. Funny he created most of the jobs and most of his wealth while paying 58% federal income tax.
          Lets look at the clowns you’re really protecting. Ceo of Target Gregg Steinhafel. what jobs did he create? Why I would think it was George Dayton that created a job for him. Brian Dunn CEO of Best Buy did he create any jobs? I would think it was Richard M. Schulze that created a job for him.
          These people that are only there for a few years taking as much as they can form both the corporation and the state. they pay big dollars to the GOP to protect them from taxes.

        • pat

          Again, it must be a wonder to be rich, but they need to pay their way just as I do. They make their gains on the work of the poor. If businesses leave because of high taxes, New York City would be a ghost town as would most of the East Coast. Businesses, good business people, value the quality of life in their world, just as poor and middle class people do. if a business is going to relocate to alabama to save a few bucks, I say, fine, go, good riddance!You need to recognize that for the past 40 yearsthe rich have been gobbling up more and more of our posterity, while the poor and middle class pick up the tab. Who pays when a business pollutes, Tom? Who’s taking care of the methotelioma on the Iron Range? Just asking.

      • Guy

        You realize YOU just undercut your OWN argument?? First you claim that the rich only create lawn mowing & car washing jobs. THEN you start talking about tax attorneys … obvously YOU think that the rich create a need for tax attorneys .. make up your mind.

        • pat

          Tax attorneys are rich, dah! How else could one afford to take in 23 foster kids?

    • Irv

      Your preaching an old tale. Businesses don’t stop doing business because of higher taxes, they just pass that cost along to their consumers. If I offer your business a $10mill contract you are not going to pass on it because you might have topay more in taxes You are going to hire people take the contract, make the millions and then hide it in tax loopholes that are already in place. If your theory is correct than we should have more jobs now than ever before as the wealthy top 1% of individuals in this country are paying the lowest taxes in over 50 years. Their tax rate has gone down since Ford was in office. Hell\, even Reagan wanted to raise taxes on them. TIme to get a new pitch and start paying your share.

  • Naomi

    I wish I had a bus. Cause when election day rolls around I would pick up as many elderly and disable as I could and bring them to the polls.

    • Billy

      Acorn already has that job with stops for homeless and felons

      • Chuck

        Don’t forget the mentally ill and illegals.

        • Me

          The illegals can drive themselves since we’ve given them the legal right to drive in this state.

  • Jake

    This is THE CLASSIC “throw grandma under the bus rhetoric”, and ‘cco is sucking up to it BIG TIME. To bad that our local media has stooped to this level.

  • Stef

    I work at a nursing home and I am very afraid. Residents pay $5,000 a month to live there. Some pay out of pocket. Our Senior Citizens work there whole life and deserve the security and care.

  • Bad Ass

    Make the GOP Tax the rich. Great Job Governor Dayton! Shut down tell you get the 2% tax on the rich!!! Or make a new tax braket. Tax Evertone 3% and take away deductons.

  • OOICU812

    Come election time these people can find another job!

  • Kendra

    I am absolutely convinced Dayton wants a shutdown.

  • Joe Hanson

    Greedy Governor Mark Dayton, for want of increased taxes to spend on what he won’t say, is tossing Grandma and other invalids out on the street stealing their dentures as they go…

    • Guy

      Dayton doen’t want to steal their DENTURES … he wants their MEDS (just look at a picture of him). Get rid of all the old geezers & there will be lots more for HIM.

  • Pat

    If we allow the Republican legislature to pass their budget, they will cut half of the current funding out of the healthcare budget (about 2 billion, I believe). Who do voters think is going to “pay”? Amy Koch loves to beat the drum for “job creating” and “no new taxes” but she is also beating the seniors in their nursing homes. Time for the Republicans to get serious about passing a compromise.

    • @ Pat

      When will YOU figure out Dayton wants a shutdown? It doesn’t matter what the GOP offers. He vetoed the last 9 offers they sent.

      It’s also a lie about cutting the funding for healthcare in half. But you like to spread lies, don’t you?

  • Pat

    No lie in my entry. I can read their budget and health care is where the cuts fall. You may not like it, but that is the truth. Face it, gvoernment plays a vital role in funding our school, infrastructure, and healthcare and it needs to continue. It is time for the wealthy to ane up the same percentage of their income to support this state as I do.
    And by the way, Amy Koch, M. Zellers, and the Republican legislative leadership met in January before session to plan this shut down. Dayton was not at their table at the time.

  • @ Pat

    I agree that government does play a vital role in school funding and such. I agree it needs to continue. From everything I have read, the GOP budget increases spending in those areas and decreases it elsewhere.

    Prove those people met in January to plan a shutdown. Have you read any of the memos from DHS higher ups who say Dayton is planning on creating chaos by a shutdown? Or do you only listen to one side? I don’t. I listen to both sides before making up my mind and Dayton wants a shutdown.

    Dayton was a poor choice for governor. He was an awful US Senator and was drunk on the floor of the US Senate several times and has admitted such. He is a drunkard. Emmer was no better of a choice with his 2 DWI’s. However, Dayton has a name people recoginize and Emmer didn’t so naturally Dayton would win. I voted for Dayton because I didn’t know who the hell the other guy was. I actually wanted Margaret as Governor. But since she is a woman….well….who the hell would vote for her? She is such a competent woman and we certainly don’t want one of them in the Governors Mansion.

    • Guy

      I voted for Emmer because I didn’t know who HE was … but I DID know who Dayton was …

  • Sour apples

    The Governor plans on holding the People of this state hostage until he is successful in raising taxes . He’s had plenty of opportunity to agree to one of the several budgets the Republicans have sent him.

    He is the Governor and is ultimately responsible.

  • Heidi

    Its a bit ironic that the people who voted this clown into office are the ones that would suffer the most with his shutdown.

    • Zeke

      Those are also the people who would ultimately suffer under the GOP budget. plans. Tough spot to be in.

    • Agree with Heidi

      Tom Dooher will wet his pants.

  • Ron

    The legislature gave guv, Mark Dayton-marshal- fields a budget. Teh house of representatives appropriates funds. The governor is trashing the system by shutting down the government by wishing to SPEND MORE!! What a tool….

    PS. Mark Dayton! Your fly is open…

  • Citizen

    A quote from Robert Reich on his blog: (just some statistical facts for the conservative “dreamers” out there)
    Since the early 1980s, a larger and larger share of total income has gone to the top (the richest 1 percent of Americans got 10 percent of total income in 1980, and get over 20 percent now). That’s left the vast middle class with insufficient purchasing power to boost the economy – without going deep into debt.
    Lower tax rates on the rich — including lower capital gains rates — have exacerbated this regressive trend.

    • Cookie

      Reich is a left wing loon who sits with Chris Matthews on hardball feeling tingles in their legs.

      • Ron

        You got that right. He was the one behind Jimmy Carters great economic plan that had interest rates in the high teens, inflation over 20%, etc. etc. It took Reagon to get things back to normal.

  • Citizen

    @Cookie & Ron. By the way, Cookie, “left wing loon,” as opposed to right-wing Nazi? So, let me get this straight, Reich is a man who has served in public service, extremely well-educated and successful, and has “taken care of himself” as you conservatives constantly harp on. Yet, he is to be belittled by the likes of you. Oh, wait, I’m sorry, he may be successful, but not according to the right-wing standards–he hasn’t pulled the support away from the neediest members of society, and speaks the truth rather than in right-wing talking points, fabrications, distortions, and lies. You all have a great Saturday!

    • Trim the fat

      So granny in a wheelchair will be affected by a shutdown, but some welfare slob from Chicago will get her free goodies? Time to trim the fat.

    • Chuck

      Having an education does not disqualify you from being a loon. His ideas of high taxes has proven over and over again to be wrong.

      • pat

        Proven by whom, may I ask? Seems like our taxes were highest during World War Two, and that didn’t wreck the country did it? Brought us out of the great depression, as I remeber it. High taxation, and high government spending for socially valuable projects and programs works for the people. Ask a resident of Denmark or Finland.

        • Liston

          Jimmy Carter, if you lived during those days you would have seen high taxes, high unemployment, high interest rates (17%), high inflation (price of everything was through the roof) long lines at the gas pumps, and a president who came on TV and told everybody to wear sweaters and turn down the temp. It was a total failure. Reagon turned it around by cutting taxes and government giveaways. He gave people back their dignity and they went back to work instead of waiting for handouts.

  • Trim the fat

    The interest rate on my first home was 15% thanks to Jimmy Carter. I also remember long lines at the pumps and you could only get $5 worth of gas.

  • The Analyst

    This is pure politics by Dayton.

    If the Republicans don’t give in to his rediculous budge, he can accuse them of being hard headed.

    If they capitulate, they will be accused of breaking their promises and raising taxes.

    The local media allows this game to be played.

  • Mark

    YEAH!!! A government shutdown…Can it be permanent….pleeeease

blog comments powered by Disqus
Thursday Night Football

Listen Live