Minnesota Gov. Limits Access to Federal Funds Through Health Reform
On Tuesday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) signed an executive order directing state agencies to decline discretionary spending funds granted under the health reform law, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/31).
The governor's action makes Minnesota the first state to formally restrict officials from accepting federal health reform funding (Adamy/Merrick, Wall Street Journal, 9/1).
The order says that Minnesota officials cannot seek further discretionary money for demonstration projects and grant funding unless Pawlenty first approves the request.
In addition, the order confirms that Minnesota will not expand its Medicaid program before 2014 ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/31).
However, the order is not likely to significantly affect how the reform law is implemented in the state.
The order lasts until the end of the year, when Pawlenty's term expires.
Minnesota's Legislature already has plans to seek some federal funding for demonstration projects, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Minnesota's Different Approach
Thus far, states that have challenged the reform law have focused on provisions such as the individual mandate, but Pawlenty is the only governor fighting uncontroversial measures on the grounds that they burden states and infringe on personal liberties.
Pawlenty said, "It is a really upsetting intrusion by the federal government into matters that have been reserved to the states or private markets." He added that demonstration programs could lead to a health care system controlled by the federal government.
However, some state Democrats said Pawlenty's order is meant only to show Republicans that he is publicly fighting the reform law in order to further his political aspirations to be the GOP presidential candidate in 2012 (Wall Street Journal, 9/1).
The state Legislature is planning hearings on the legality of Pawlenty's actions (Pierog/Lambert, Reuters, 8/31).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.