DFL lawmakers upset Pawlenty didn't apply for $1M grantby Elizabeth Stawicki, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Some DFL lawmakers say they're frustrated that Gov. Tim Pawlenty decided not to apply for a $1 million grant under the new federal health care reform law.
Minnesota was one of only five states that did not apply for the grant. Wisconsin, North and South Dakota received $1 million each.
The funding will help states strengthen their oversight of health insurance rate hikes. State Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, said the state can't afford to not apply for the grant.
"It's basically money that the federal government is giving an equal amount to each state, so if we're not doing it in effect our tax dollars are going to other states," Marty said. "We've been cutting back on the courts, we've been cutting back in so many ways; a million dollars is a million dollars."
Sen. Marty and other DFL members of the Health Care Commission raised their concerns at a meeting Wednesday.
The governor's spokesman said Pawlenty was "unwilling to sign up for a new federal program with undefined terms and potential long-term state obligations."
Marty called the governor's statement bogus.
"Almost half the states are suing the federal government because they disagree with the health reform," Marty said. "They have their right to sue, I don't know that they're going to get anywhere, but they have the right to sue. But even those states that are suing the federal government took the money."