Dayton: Pawlenty Medicaid delay 'irresponsible'

Gov.-elect Mark Dayton wants Gov. Tim Pawlenty's administration to account for a delay in the expansion of Medicaid.

Dayton met Monday with state Human Services Commissioner Cal Ludeman and says he is "deeply distressed" to learn that the promised expansion of the federal health program will take until October.

Dayton says the delay will cost the state about $300 million in federal funds over the remainder of this fiscal year and the beginning of the next fiscal year.

Dayton said he was misled by the Pawlenty administration that the program would be implemented immediately.

"And it's left the program in ruins, it's left people who expected to be receiving better health care and all the hospitals and health care providers who expected to be receiving better reimbursement starting on Jan. 3 or shortly thereafter are now being told it's going to be nine months later," Dayton said. "I think it's hugely irresponsible."

During his campaign, Dayton promised to expand the Medicaid program soon after taking office in January.

The early expansion is allowed under the new federal health care law, but lawmakers left it up to the new governor to decide whether to go forward with it.