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Minnesota House approves Medicaid expansion

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 11, 2013 at 6:30 pm •  Published: February 11, 2013

Rep. Thomas Huntley, DFL-Duluth, said Minnesota can't afford to pass on the expansion.

"Your doctors, your hospitals will be getting a lot more money because of this bill," Huntley said.

The federal government has said it would cover 100 percent of the costs of the most new enrollees until 2016. The state would have to pay a portion beginning in 2017. By 2020, the state's share would be 10 percent of the costs.

But Republicans raised worries that the debt-laden federal government would renege on its payment pledge.

"We have a track record of being sucked into this by the federal government and then being handed the bill," said Republican Rep. Steve Drazkowski of Mazeppa, who cited a long-unfulfilled promise by Congress to pick up the bulk of special education costs.

The GOP tried unsuccessfully to back out if the federal government ever drops its contribution for Medical Assistance patient costs below 50 percent, which is the standard rate now.

Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, objected on philosophical grounds.

"We know with federal funding comes federal micromanagement of what we do here," he said.

The bill has the backing of the state's major business groups, labor unions and medical associations.