Early Medicaid expansion is key factor

DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Majority Leader Tony Sertich said this morning that the Legislative end game is turning toward health care as a final focus.

Lawmakers passed a bill that would enroll poor Minnesotans early in Medicaid, at a marginal cost of nearly $200 million — that’s above expected costs for treating the poor.

“This expansion is at the heart of the differences between the Governor and the Legislature moving forward,” Sertich said on a conference call this morning.

The Governor opposes the shift, nominally because of the extra cost and the state’s dire budget straights — although DFLers allege it may also be because the expansion is part of the recent federal health care reform passed by the Democratic-controlled Congress.

DFLers also say Minnesota would get more than a billion dollars in matching federal funds in return, and potentially save 20,000 health care jobs. They also say that the four Twin Cities hospitals that signed off on treating GAMC patients aren’t enough to cover the state.

Kelliher said that DFLers believe that the governor may veto the HHS bill with the shift as early as today, setting up a possible override. Kelliher said her caucus is ready, whenever the veto happens: “I think obviously, by passing it last night at midnight always gives us that option.”

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