House Speaker Pat Grassley says Republicans in the House plan to increase the rate Iowa nursing homes are paid to care for residents enrolled in Medicaid.

The Medicaid program pays for the care of over half of Iowa nursing home residents. Grassley says the current reimbursement rate was set before COVID hit, based on nursing home costs in 2018. Since then, nursing homes have been dealing with inflation and paying higher wages to try to keep and attract workers. Seventeen nursing homes closed last year due to financial strain and advocates warn more closures will happen if the Medicaid reimbursement rate doesn’t rise.

“We recognize that there is that need,” Grassley told reporters during a news conference on the House floor.

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