While protesters urging a $15 minimum wage disrupted floor debate on a more modest proposal backed by Gov. Kate Brown and Democratic lawmakers, one of the state's largest employers of low-wage workers this morning presented new information about the cost of minimum wage legislation lawmakers are currently considering.

The Oregon Health Care Association, which represents 700 nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, distributed a new Portland State University study that says Senate Bill 1532 would cost the industry $436 million over the next six years.

In a letter distributed to all lawmakers today, the Health Care Association warned that labor costs for its 40,000 employees will rise far faster than reimbursement from insurers.

"It is nearly impossible to substantially reduce operating budgets without sacrificing the quality of care or being out of regulatory compliance," the letter said. "This measure risks pricing middle class seniors out of senior housing, assisted living communities and in-home care services."

Senate Bill 1532, which includes wage hikes in three geographic regions of the state, has already won passage from the Senate, the more conservative of the two Legislative chambers.

The bill would raise the minimum wage from the current $9.25 to $14.75 in the metro area; $13.50 in the middle tier and to $12.50 in Oregon's most rural counties in 2022.