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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R)

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Let's take a step back from fed health care

Monday, March 21, 2011
To the editor: I oppose the federal government mandating health care coverage under any circumstances but, at the very least, Minnesota should not pour money into Obamacare until the constitutionality of this program is resolved. Florida judge Robert Vinson recently ruled on the 26-state lawsuit against Obamacare and found the law’s individual mandate to buy health insurance unconstitutional. Vinson’s decision included this statement: If the law’s individual mandate is upheld, then the government has the unlimited power to “mandate that everybody has to eat broccoli each week” and any other product that advances health. Why would states waste millions on Obamacare when it might become void? Minnesota’s former majority touted early entrance into Obamacare as a way to access “free” money from Washington. One of the first things Mark Dayton did as governor was to sign an executive order requiring Minnesota to take part in the early participation of this program. Minnesota’s early expansion into Obamacare undermines the innovative, bipartisan reform achieved last session. The so-called savings to Minnesota by opting into this program relies on billions of federal dollars Washington does not really have. This is the same federal government which has a history of failing to fulfill its promises to the states. Minnesota has been victimized by promises of federal dollars in the past, including for special education. One of the biggest challenges we face in Minnesota is to get a grip on unsustainable health and human services costs. Instead of foreign borrowing and federal promises, we should continue our legacy of developing fiscally sound health care reform right here in Minnesota. I remain committed to enacting private-market health care reforms as a key to lowering cost and improving access to health care reform. Minnesota traditionally is a model of health care excellence and it’s time for us to return to being leaders instead of following Washington’s treacherous lead. Sincerely, Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen
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