Health official says nine-month timeframe for Medicaid expansion necessary

Gov.-elect Mark Dayton says he'll authorize the expansion soon after taking office next month. On Monday, Dayton is scheduled to meet with a state official about expansion of Medicaid for the state's poor.

But, Human Services Commissioner Cal Ludeman said it could take until October to move some 95,000 low-income Minnesotans into the program.

"These are childless adults with a poverty level of 75 percent or less and we don't want them to fall through the cracks at any point and time," Ludeman said. "There will be confusion and anxiety for those clients if they fall through the cracks if our system is unable to track them and track the claims."

Ludeman also said it'll take time to adjust the system that pays out claims for medical costs. He said that the other part that is going to take some time is what is called Minnesota's Maxis system, which is the enrollment system that is done at the county level in the state.

"That is also another reason why we're going to take longer to implement this than the other state that has been able to put early expansion into effect in Connecticut," he said.

Dayton has said a nine-month time frame for the Medicaid expansion is "unacceptable". The expansion is part of President Obama's health care reform law.

Gov. Pawlenty refused to sign off on the expansion, because he said it will cost the state more money.

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