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Sen. Mary Olson, DFL-Bemidji, flanked by Sen. Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook, tell North Country Health Services officials and MeritCare-Bemidji doctors Friday night that they support health care reform measures, but a lack of state money will stymie most. They were joined by Reps. Brita Sailer of Park Rapids and John Persell of Bemidji, both Democrats. Pioneer Photo/Brad Swenson

Health care forum: Lawmakers see budget challenge

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Rural hospitals and nursing homes face compounded budget problems under Gov. Tim Pawlenty's budget, but lawmakers don't know how to correct them.

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Pawlenty's budget proposal cuts health and human services spending by about 15 percent from projected growth levels, although he increases the HHS budget by 9.6 percent in actual dollars from this biennium to the next.

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