DFL-Pawlenty Order On “Obamacare” May Be Illegal

DFL leaders talk about restrictions Governor Tim Pawlenty is placing on Minnesota for use of federal health care funds.

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The full text of the Governor’s executive order and press release from the DFL when you continue reading.

Press release from Governor Tim Pawlenty’s office:

Governor Tim Pawlenty today signed Executive Order 10-12 directing state agencies to decline all discretionary participation in the federal health care legislation known as Obamacare.

“Obamacare is an intrusion by the federal government into personal health care matters and it’s an explosion of federal spending that does nothing to make health care more affordable,” Governor Pawlenty said. “To the fullest extent possible, we need to keep Obamacare out of Minnesota. This executive order will stop Minnesota’s participation in projects that are laying the groundwork for a federally-controlled healthcare system.”

The Governor’s order directs all executive branch departments and agencies not to submit applications to the federal government in connection with requests for grant funding for programs and demonstration projects deriving from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act unless otherwise required by law or approved by the Governor’s office.

The office of the Governor will evaluate federal funding opportunities on the basis of whether they will support existing state initiatives or programs, or whether such federal funding opportunities create new encroachments by the federal government under the recently passed federal legislation.

The following is the text of the Governor’s order:

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10-12
DIRECTING STATE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
REGARDING DISCRETIONARY PARTICIPATION
IN THE FEDERAL HEALTH CARE LAW

I, TIM PAWLENTY, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and applicable laws do hereby issue this executive order:
WHEREAS, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA” or “the Act”) (Pub.L. 111-148) was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010; and
WHEREAS, the Act represents a dramatic attempt to assert federal command and control over this country’s health care system, which accounts for one-sixth of our nation’s economy, thereby reducing individual freedom for health care decisions; and
WHEREAS, the Act includes unprecedented federal intrusions into individual liberty, including the mandate that individual citizens are compelled to purchase health insurance under penalty of law; and
WHEREAS, the Act was passed with massive new spending commitments at a time when the growing federal government debt threatens private sector economic growth; and
WHEREAS, the revenue to pay for the Act is based on increased taxes and fees coupled with unrealistic assumptions regarding purported future cost-savings; and
WHEREAS, this legislation includes a multitude of programs and demonstration projects intended to speed the transition to federally-controlled health care; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to Laws of Minnesota 2010, 1st Special Session, Chapter 1 (Special Session Chapter 1) my Administration has determined Minnesota will not participate in the early expansion of the Medicaid entitlement program offered by the federal government as part of the legislation; and
WHEREAS, consistent with this determination and in recognition of my obligations to protect Minnesota’s sovereign interests and those of its citizens, the boundary between state and federal government must be maintained to prevent an unwise and unsustainable federal takeover of health care in our State.
NOW, THEREFORE, I hereby order that:
All executive branch departments and agencies are directed that no application shall be submitted to the federal government in connection with requests for grant funding for programs and demonstration projects deriving from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA” or “the Act”) (Pub.L. 111-148) unless otherwise required by law, or approved by the office of the Governor.
Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 2009, section 4.035, subdivision 2, this Executive Order will be effective fifteen (15) days after publication in the State Register and filing with the Secretary of State and will remain in effect in accordance with Minnesota Statutes 2009, section 4.035, subdivision 3.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have set my hand this 31st day of August, 2010.

DFL Press release:

State health care leaders responded today to Governor Pawlenty’s effort to limit Minnesota’s involvement in the new federal health law at the expense of Minnesota jobs. It is the latest in several attempts in recent weeks by Governor Pawlenty to reject resources that DFL lawmakers say will preserve and create jobs and help stabilize the state budget.

“The Governor’s obstruction on health care is hurting care providers, patients and most importantly, costing Minnesotans jobs when we can least afford it,” said State Rep. Tom Huntley (DFL – Duluth).

Just last week Children’s Hospital announced its plan to lay off 200 to 250 workers. State Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL – St. Paul) said hospitals and care providers throughout the state are experiencing similar stress on their bottom line and that workers and families are paying the price.

“There are still over 200,000 Minnesotans out of work and the response from Governor Pawlenty and the Republican Party can be summed up in three words – just say no,” said Murphy. “We have a clear choice – move forward and confront serious issues facing Minnesota families, or move backward with the same failed policies of the past.”

Pawlenty’s plan to limit the new health law in Minnesota could affect over 100 funding opportunities to improve health care in Minnesota. Several key components that affect Minnesotans have already been implemented or will be implemented in September. Americans with pre-existing medical conditions will have access to affordable health care, seniors on Medicare will receive a $250 rebate to fill the “donut hole” and small businesses can take advantage of tax credits up to 35 percent of premiums to cover their employees.

“The federal health law returns immediate dividends to Minnesota families, seniors, and small businesses wrestling with the cost of health care,” said State Sen. Linda Berglin (DFL – Minneapolis). “Unfortunately, the Governor and the Minnesota Republican Party continue to aggressively work to dismantle real progress for struggling Minnesota families.”

The latest news from Governor Pawlenty continues his trend of rejecting or delaying federal tax dollars that Minnesotans send to Washington D.C. To date, Pawlenty has rejected or delayed over $1.7 billion in federal dollars.

Pawlenty has yet to direct the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services to apply to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a $1 million grant to assist in the planning and establishment of the American Health Benefit Exchange. Under state law passed this session, he has until September 1, 2010 to do so. Lawmakers sent a letter to Health Commissioners Ludeman, Magnun and Wilson today to ask what steps the Administration has taken to comply with state law.

“We want to know what is holding up the Administration from complying with state law,” said Huntley.

“Agree with it or not, the Affordable Care Act is now the law of the land,” said Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL – Minneapolis). “This new federal money available to Minnesota is no different than the federal money we receive for transportation, education or any other federal return on our state tax dollars. This is politics over good policy at its worst, and Minnesotans should be outraged.”

In coming weeks, Huntley and Berglin plan to hold hearings to examine the legality and impact on the Governor’s unilateral directives to limit the federal health law.

 

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