GOP senator knocks Dayton over federal health fundsby Elizabeth Stawicki, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A leading GOP state senator who opposes the federal health care overhaul is accusing the Dayton administration of misusing federal tax dollars to hire staff to build a state insurance exchange.
About 1 million Minnesotans are eventually expected to get their health coverage through the state's exchange, which is in development.
David Hann, chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, said the governor should involve the Legislature by submitting a bill to create an exchange.
"The commerce department has hired nine people at a cost to the public of over $787,000 annually. Now my question is simply what are these people doing? How do you have a director of an exchange when you don't have an exchange? How do you have a finance director when you have no budget? How do you have an information project director when there is no project?" Hann said.
Last year the Dayton administration secured authority to spend as much as $28 million in federal grants to develop an exchange, which drew criticism from Hann and other Republicans. The Dayton administration says none of the employees are paid with state funds.