Republicans in the Minnesota House say they want to end the state's early expansion of the federal Medicaid program, setting up a showdown with Gov. Mark Dayton.
Republican Rep. Jim Abeler, who chairs the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee, said a few weeks ago that including a provision to end the expansion would be a distraction from budget negotiations. But now he says he changed the measure to reflect the will of House Republicans.
"I think it's a necessary topic that we have to all discuss and make the House position very clear and I think it's very clear that none of us in our caucus like that provision," Abeler said.
DFL Rep. Erin Murphy says ending the expansion would save the state $500 million over the next two years but cause 100,000 low-income Minnesotans to lose their health insurance.
"They may be adding a little bit more money but they're adding way more people, and they're taking away the drug coverage so it's a big downgrade in terms of coverage for 100,000 people in Minnesota."
Senate Republicans also want to end the Medicaid expansion. Dayton said he'll veto any bills that repeal the expansion.
Dayton signed an executive order in January enrolling as many as 105,000 people in Medicaid as part of the new federal health care overhaul.