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Taking $263 million from the feds? "Looks likely," Pawlenty says

Posted by: under Funding, Health care, Gov. Tim Pawlenty Updated: August 31, 2010 - 7:22 PM

On the same day, Gov. Tim Pawlenty issued an executive order smacking down "Obamacare" the Minnesota governor said  he would probably accept $263 million in health care dollars.

"We'll likely take that money," Pawlenty said in an interview at the State Fair Tuesday. "It's not Obamacare, it is something that we were going to be doing anyhow."

As he makes his foray onto the national stage, potentially preparing himself for a presidential run, the Republican governor has been an unabashed critic of federal spending. Although the money was not in the federal health care overhaul bill that Pawlenty has inveighed against, it is part of a federal spending package the governor bashed.

The governor has a deadline of Sept. 24 to make a decision on the tranche of cash. Since the emergency measure passed granting states extra funding, Pawlenty has been unclear about whether or not he would give the state the go ahead to accept the health care cash for Medicaid.

But Tuesday, he said taking the $263 million may just make sense for Minnesota.

"We're going to take the money for those things that we were going to do anyhow and for the Medicaid (money), we were going to do that anyhow," Pawlenty said. He said he also wanted to check if accepting the money would bind the hands of the next governor, and it appears it will not.

Further, the governor said, Minnesota is a net donor to the federal government -- sending in more money than it gets back --  so "where it's appropriate and where it's wise and doesn't further some stupid policy agenda or otherwise concerns us or sign us up for something that is unsustainable or otherwise cause us a problem, we're going to apply for those other pots of money."






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