After holiday, lawmakers look at budget deficit, health insuranceby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
State lawmakers return to the State Capitol this week, after an extended Easter break.
St. Paul, Minn. — Committee chairs in both the House and Senate are expected to release their plans for erasing a projected $935 million budget deficit.
The Minnesota Senate is also expected to take up a bill that would provide health insurance to another 47,000 people.
Sen. Linda Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis, said her bill would create a health insurance exchange so small employers could get less expensive health insurance. She said it would also reward doctors who focus on preventative medicine instead of more costly responsive treatments.
"The whole goal of the payment reform is to reduce spending over what it would be otherwise. It's alarming," Berglin said. "We're projecting by 2012 or 2013 over $50 billion that we would be spending on health care. That's one and a half times the whole state budget."
Berglin said she wants to use a state health care fund to pay for expanded health care coverage. Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants to shift money from that fund to help balance the budget.