Gov. Tim Pawlenty told lawmakers he didn't like it and Tuesday spread the word to his Human Services Commissioner.
The letter to commissioner Cal Ludeman, says that "I will not be directing the Department of Human Services to implement early enrollment." Early enrollment would have expanded federal Medicaid for low income adults in Minnesota, a move permitted by the federal health care overhaul.
The governor had to affirmatively decide whether to enroll Minnesota into the program. The next governor will have another shot at the decision without legislative action. DFLer Margaret Anderson Kelliher has said one of her first executive actions, should she win would be to pull in the federal money and take up the early enrollment option.
Pawlenty's letter focuses on the state costs of the program -- he says the state would have to spend another $430 million over the next three years to match the federal funding. Kelliher and other DFLers focus on the federal funding for the program -- they say enrolling would pull in $1.4 billion in federal health care and get poor people better health care.
Connecticut was the first state in the nation to sign up.
DFL Reps. Tom Huntley and Erin Murphy, key House health care point people, said they were unsurprised but still disappointed at Pawlenty's decision.They also said Pawlenty did something interesting with his math -- they say, using numbers from the non-partisan fiscal staff, the enrollment would only cost Minnesota $188 million on top of what it is already spending. That's the number the entire Legislature used all session.
"We have done the math on this," Murphy, of St. Paul, said. "We not sure where the over $400 million is coming from...I'm saying I don't understand his math."
"We just don't see those numbers. We again just looked at the sheets and we would say it's $188," Huntley, of Duluth. said.
The House media staff later said that the governor's cost of $430 doesn't calculate in the saving the health care access fund, which pays for MinnesotaCare, would see and only uses the direct cost to the general fund.
She also said the $188 million is already banked and essentially set aside in the current budget.