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Governor Dayton Signs Executive Orders Implementing Medicaid Opt-In In First Act As Governor

January 05, 2011

Signs Executive Order, officially implementing expanded Medicaid in Minnesota and  providing health care and jobs for tens of thousands of Minnesotans

St. Paul, MN – In his first official act as Governor, Mark Dayton today signed two executive orders implementing Minnesota’s early Medicaid enrollment. This action is expected to bring an estimated 95,000 Minnesotans onto health coverage and protect 20,000 health care jobs across our state.

In addition to bringing tens of thousands onto the rolls of the insured, early Medicaid enrollment will bring in approximately $1.2 billion in federal resources for our $188 million investment.  The move generates cost savings for the state, from reducing the projected shortfall in the Health Care Access Fund by $500 million.

Governor Dayton signed the order in a public ceremony held this morning in the Governor’s Reception Room.  Supporters and opponents filled the room, and equal time was allowed for individuals from both sides to speak from the podium; about his decision to let opponents speak, Dayton said, “It’s the people’s room.  It’s where democracy occurs.”

Speaking in support of Governor Dayton’s decision to sign the executive order was Mindy Tomfohrde, Admissions Clerk in ER/Urgent Care at Olmsted Medical Center and Sarah Anderson, who spoke on behalf of her brother, Eric Halstenson, who was denied health care while enrolled in General Assistance Medical Care.

About the executive order, Dayton said:

“As my first official act as Governor, I’m going to take two important steps. One is to sign an executive order, committing Minnesota to the so-called Early Option for Medicaid. That is essential to providing better health care to all Minnesotans.

It will provide $1.2 billion in federal funds, which the Minnesota health care providers, including the Minnesota Medical Association, the doctors of Minnesota, the Hospital Association of Minnesota have requested for months now. Enable them to be reimbursed at better rates for providing health care services to low-income Minnesotans so they in turn can not divert resources, particularly hospitals, from emergency room care for all Minnesotans.

This is a step that benefits all of the people of our state at no, and I repeat no, net cost to the state of Minnesota, according to the Department of Management and Budget.

This money goes to benefit the low-income recipients, but really the dollars themselves go to Minnesota hospitals and doctors, nurses and others who provide essential health care to all these citizens and to all of us.
It’s their voices I heard from throughout my previous months of campaigning. All over Minnesota, hospital administrators and others have stressed how this money has enabled them to get reimbursed at better rates for the services they provide to low-income adults.

This is a better approach over a period of time and allows the legislature and our agency heads to work together, collaboratively and effectively, with the private sector, with the hospitals, the doctors and other health care providers to keep looking for more cost effective ways we can provide health care to all of our citizens.” 

Immediately following the signing of Executive Order 11-01, Dayton signed a second Executive Order removing the ban on requests for federal assistance to improve the availability and quality of health care in Minnesota.  This order rescinds Executive Order 10-12, which banned the Minnesota Departments of Commerce and Health from applying for federal health grants, limiting the ability of Minnesotans to fully benefit from the federal funds available that will both improve the quality of health care in the state and protect Minnesota jobs.