By MyFM's Rick Michaels - Supporter after supporter testified yesterday in favor of a potential 2020 ballot question updating rates paid by state government to nursing homes. The big question before members of the Elder Affairs Committee, is where the money to pay for the new, higher rates would come from. State Senator Rebecca Rausch of Needham (Franklin) is vice chair, and along with State Senator Ryan Fattman of Sutton and State Representative David Muradian of Grafton sit on the committee. The estimate from the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, that the proposal it supports to update Medicaid funding for nursing homes, could cost the state $272 million during calendar year 2021, half of which the organization said would be reimbursed by the federal government. Chairman of Massachusetts Senior Care, Thomas Lavalle had some sobering thoughts and facts to share with the committee yesterday saying "Massachusetts nursing facilities are in the midst of a historic financial and workforce crisis. This crisis impacts all nursing facilities not for profit, for profit, family owned and is directly attributable to a MassHealth payment system that has not kept pace with the cost of nursing facility care over the last decade. The association has been warning that 95 nursing homes, about 25 percent of the total in the state, are at risk of closing due to underfunding from the state, rising labor costs, and competition from assisted living and home care operators. Lavallee said 32 Massachusetts nursing homes have closed in the last two years.