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Reality Check: Bachmann On Medicaid, Health Care Law

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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By Pat Kessler, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s claims about Minnesota need a check-up when it comes to Medicaid and the new health care law.

The outspoken Republican Congresswoman asked DFL Gov. Mark Dayton to rescind his executive order expanding Medicaid to 95,000 uninsured and underinsured Minnesotans, saying Dayton is committing the state to what she called “Obamacare.”

“Serious steps are being taken to stop this job-destroying legislation that will cause healthcare costs to rise exponentially,” said Bachmann. “Yet here in Minnesota, Governor Dayton is unyielding in his desire to fully commit our state to it.”

And at a State Capitol press conference, Bachmann appealed directly to the new governor:

“Governor Dayton, slow down!” she said.

That’s an EXAGGERATION.

Allowing the new governor to expand Medicaid is not a new idea. It was seven months in the making.

Proposed by former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty as a budget compromise and passed by the DFL legislature, the law allowed the new governor to decide whether to ‘opt-in’ to Medicaid.

IN FACT

It was DFL Governor Mark Dayton’s first official act.

The new health care law allows states already covering poor adults to move them into federal Medicaid programs.

These are people who earn less than $8000 a year, and many are disabled.

It includes 83,000 vulnerable adults on MN Care and other state programs, and 12,000 other adults who do not have insurance.

Bachmann claims it is adding to Minnesota’s deficit.

“Minnesota is in a very difficult place being $6 billion in the hole right now, in the red,” she said. “So, to make the problem worse, doesn’t seem like a prudent move on the part of the governor.”

That’s a DISTORTION.

This change costs Minnesota $384 million. It was paid for last year when Pawlenty and the legislature balanced the budget — and doesn’t add to this year’s deficit.

In exchange, the feds give Minnesota $1.2 billion to reimburse hospitals and doctors.

“It will mean more hassle, more expense, but not necessarily more or better quality health care,” Bachmann said.

That’s NOT THE WHOLE STORY.

Bachmann is among Republicans trying to repeal the health care law, and distributed materials claiming it will increase the federal deficit.

But the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says the opposite. That it cuts the deficit by $143 billion.

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