Missing Pawlenty Signature Costs MN $1 Million

Senator John Marty: “So rather than sign a letter we gave up a million dollars?”

By Susan Maricle

At the Minnesota legislative review for health care access, committee members indicated a sense of stonewalling on the states part to move forward on the contentious issue of implementing healthcare reform. Committee questions either went unanswered or were deferred to another department. Rep. Erin Murphy diplomatically acknowledged the ideological divide on the issue.

Chair Linda Berglin was more direct. Upon hearing that Minnesota didnt apply for 1 million dollars in federal funds available for insurance rate reviews, Berglin wanted to know why. The answer: department employees already perform rate reviews. Berglin wanted to know how these employees are being paid for this service, and if insurance companies were paying fees to regulate their own policies.

The final answer from Department of Commerce official John Gross: the state had completed the application but Governor Tim Pawlenty didn’t sign it.

Senator John Marty asked “So rather than sign a letter we gave up a million dollars which was automatic as I understand it? Virtually automatic? I mean every state that applied got the money? So the department did it’s work. The Governor just said ‘we don’t want a million dollars’ and we’ll not sign a letter.”

The UpTake’s live coverage of the hearing, including the complete video and twitter log can be found here.