Executive branch health care

Another Tim Pawlenty political stunt may hurt Minnesotans.

by Editorial board

Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been talking up his recent executive order that he says will “keep Obamacare out of Minnesota.” The next day, he grandstanded on Fox News about blocking it. He used the move to fundraise for his Freedom First PAC. The $263 million in federal Medicaid funding that was part of a bill Pawlenty called a “bailout” and “reckless government spending.”

It turns out, however, that Pawlenty thinks “We’ll likely take that money.” For all of Pawlenty’s talk about opposing “Obamacare,” he doesn’t seem to back it up with much substance.

The order would prevent state agencies from submitting grant applications to the federal government except under two conditions, The first being “unless otherwise required by law.” Yet, sure enough, Pawlenty previously signed into law a budget that mandates the state must apply for certain federal grants relating to the congressional health care bill.

The second condition stipulates that Pawlenty himself must approve the grants. It seems odd that someone who criticizes the health care bill as “government overreach” would then give himself exclusive authority to decide which federal health care grant applications the state may submit.

These loopholes will allow most health care funding to get through to Minnesota, and Pawlenty’s order is nothing but more posturing for his presidential campaign. Executive Order 10-12 is not — as Pawlenty would like us to think — one signed out of a legitimate desire to serve the public. Instead, it is a cynical stunt designed to pander to a national audience and raise Pawlenty’s political profile while costing the state tens of millions of dollars in the meantime.