By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The federal government rejected Friday Gov. Mark Dayton’s request for the MNsure enrollment deadline to be extended from Jan. 31 to Feb. 28.

This comes as Republicans in Washington are moving to repeal Obamacare. It also comes as Minnesota Republicans and Democrats continue to fight over a relief package for the Minnesotans hardest hit by skyrocketing premiums.

In other words: These are uncertain times for the 105,000 Minnesotans and 6.4 million Americans enrolled in Obamacare plans.

One of President-elect Donald Trump’s key campaign pledges was his promise to repeal Obamacare. But since the election, there has been a spike in people signing up for coverage under the program.

What’s not clear — at both the federal and state levels — is what is going to happen next.

Minnesota is one of the states hit by what critics say is one Obamacare’s biggest failing – that premiums for those who make too much to qualify for tax breaks have increased dramatically.

Dayton wants a flat 25 percent cut in premiums for everyone in this category. Republicans want to limit premium rebates for those with higher incomes.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt, who was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning, says the Democratic governor’s plan wouldn’t help suffering Minnesotans fast enough.

“We know Minnesotans need relief, the governor’s plan wouldn’t give relief until April 1, we thought state government could do it quicker,” Daudt said.

Now that Minnesota’s request for an enrollment extension has been denied (the enrollment deadline is Jan. 31), the pressure to come up with some kind of relief proposal has become more urgent than ever.

Esme Murphy