DFL legislative leaders are “strongly encouraging” Gov. Tim Pawlenty to accept millions in federal Medicaid money.
Congress approved federal health care funds that could send $263 million in one-time funding to Minnesota. The catch: Washington lawmakers tacked on a provision that requires governors to formally acknowledge the flow of federal money to their state.
That creates a bit of a dilemma for a Pawlenty, an outspoken critic of the new federal spending with presidential ambitions. If Pawlenty signs on, there’s millions of new money for low-income and elderly Medicaid patients and health care providers. If not, zilch.
On Tuesday, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, House Majority Leader Tony Sertich and Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller sent Pawlenty a letter urging him to sign on.
“You cannot let political ambition get in the way of doing what is right for Minnesota,” the letter said. “We strongly encourage you to seek these federal funds. Failure to do so would be an irresponsible act … hurting Minnesota taxpayers while doing nothing to help the tough economic situation faced by patients and our health care system.”
DFL gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton made a similar request of Pawlenty last week.
GOP Party Chairman Keith Downey released a letter to a party committee questioning the judgment and competency of Deputy Chairman Chris Fields just days ahead of the election for party officers in St. Cloud Saturday.