Gov. Pawlenty today signed an executive order directing state agencies to decline all discretionary participation in the federal health care legislation.
“Obamacare is an intrusion by the federal government into personal health care matters and it’s an explosion of federal spending that does nothing to make health care more affordable,” Pawlenty said in a news release. “To the fullest extent possible, we need to keep Obamacare out of Minnesota.”
A spokesman for Pawlenty hasn’t returned a question on how much federal money is at stake.
Democrats in the Legislature say Pawlenty is “putting his personal political ambitions ahead of the future of Minnesota.” DFL Senator John Marty says he can’t understand why Pawlenty is rejecting money that could help the state’s bottom line.
“It doesn’t matter if anybody supports it or not. The question is whether you turn down the money or not. The plan is going ahead. It’s a question do we want to turn down our share of the money that our taxpayers paid for. Why should we turn down the money when the other states are taking it?”
It isn’t certain how much money is at stake. DFL legislative leaders say state law does require Pawlenty to apply for some of the funds. They say there’s a possibility the Legislature could take him to court if the doesn’t apply.
Pawlenty is taking steps to run for president in 2012.
Here’s the Executive Order:
EXECUTIVE ORDER 10-12
DIRECTING STATE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
REGARDING DISCRETIONARY PARTICIPATION
IN THE FEDERAL HEALTH CARE LAW
I, TIM PAWLENTY, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and applicable laws do hereby issue this executive order:
WHEREAS, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA” or “the Act”) (Pub.L. 111-148) was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010; and
WHEREAS, the Act represents a dramatic attempt to assert federal command and control over this country’s health care system, which accounts for one-sixth of our nation’s economy, thereby reducing individual freedom for health care decisions; and
WHEREAS, the Act includes unprecedented federal intrusions into individual liberty, including the mandate that individual citizens are compelled to purchase health insurance under penalty of law; and
WHEREAS, the Act was passed with massive new spending commitments at a time when the growing federal government debt threatens private sector economic growth; and
WHEREAS, the revenue to pay for the Act is based on increased taxes and fees coupled with unrealistic assumptions regarding purported future cost-savings; and
WHEREAS, this legislation includes a multitude of programs and demonstration projects intended to speed the transition to federally-controlled health care; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to Laws of Minnesota 2010, 1st Special Session, Chapter 1 (Special Session Chapter 1) my Administration has determined Minnesota will not participate in the early expansion of the Medicaid entitlement program offered by the federal government as part of the legislation; and
WHEREAS, consistent with this determination and in recognition of my obligations to protect Minnesota’s sovereign interests and those of its citizens, the boundary between state and federal government must be maintained to prevent an unwise and unsustainable federal takeover of health care in our State.
NOW, THEREFORE, I hereby order that:
All executive branch departments and agencies are directed that no application shall be submitted to the federal government in connection with requests for grant funding for programs and demonstration projects deriving from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA” or “the Act”) (Pub.L. 111-148) unless otherwise required by law, or approved by the office of the Governor.
Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 2009, section 4.035, subdivision 2, this Executive Order will be effective fifteen (15) days after publication in the State Register and filing with the Secretary of State and will remain in effect in accordance with Minnesota Statutes 2009, section 4.035, subdivision 3.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have set my hand this 31st day of August, 2010.