Gov.'s office wants MinnesotaCare paid for with federal funding

The Dayton administration wants to use funds available under the federal health care law to help pay for MinnesotaCare.

MinnesotaCare is a state-subsidized health plan that insures about 130,000 people under age 65. The program serves people who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but still have difficulty affording commercial insurance. The federal health care law gives states the option of enacting a similar program known as a Basic Health Plan, with the help of federal funding.

Last week, Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson met with Cindy Mann, deputy director for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, to ask if the state could use federal Basic Health Plan dollars to fund MinnesotaCare.

"What we said to the federal government was, 'Look, we can use that money to maintain and improve a program that we already know works here for citizens of Minnesota," Jesson said.

"Here we already have a program: it's MinnesotaCare. But what I believe is that we ought to be able to access those federal dollars; it saves money for the federal government and we can use those to continue and improve our state-based program here in Minnesota."

Jesson said she believes Mann understood Minnesota's position and agreed to continue discussing the idea.

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