Minnesota gets approval to expand Medicaid coverage

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved a plan to provide coverage to an additional 12,000 low-income Minnesotans and expand existing coverage to 83,000 others, reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Under the plan proposed by Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, enrollees in two state-funded programs, MinnesotaCare and General Assistance Medical Care, will be shifted into the Medicaid program, which is known in the state as Medical Assistance. Another group awaiting enrollment into those two programs will be enrolled into Medicaid immediately. Dayton signed an executive order expanding the program just days after he was sworn in last month.

Shifting those lives into Medicaid boosts federal payments toward their coverage, and will help offset the cost of providing care to the additional 12,000 residents who are eligible to enroll.

The plan has come under fire from the state's Republicans, who argued that Minnesota might have to pay more of the bill should the federal government later curtail Medicaid payments. However, the blueprint for the coverage expansion was part of a compromise reached with former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, and Democratic lawmakers. Dayton has generally invited criticism about the expansion, but has made it clear he was unmoved.

For more:
- read the Minneapolis Star-Tribune article
- read the WCCO coverage