Pioneer Editorial: Pawlenty's order pure politicking
Gov. Tim Pawlenty, in issuing an executive order Tuesday which effectively cuts off Minnesota from federal health care reform programs, is perhaps the clearest signal yet that he plans on seeking the 2012 presidential nomination.
The move can be explained in no other way than in being a totally partisan decision, intended to shore up his conservatism in what will be a 2012 battle of who is more conservative to wear the Republican mantle for president. In this case, he's following the move of Republicans and Tea Party followers to block President Barack Obama's signature law on health care reform, claiming state's rights have been violated.
"Obamacare is an intrusion by the federal government into personal health care matters and it's an explosion of federal spending that does nothing to make health care more affordable," Gov. Pawlenty said in a statement. "To the fullest extent possible, we need to keep Obamacare out of Minnesota. This executive order will stop Minnesota's participation in projects that are laying the groundwork for a federally-controlled health care system."
The Minnesota Legislature, in a bill the governor signed, mandates that the commissioner of human services "seek to participate in the following demonstration projects, or apply for the following grants as described in the federal Patient Protection and Affordability Act (health care reform)." The law gives a list of such programs, including several different Medicaid programs.
Members of the DFL Legislature said Tuesday they may sue the governor if he blocks the cited applications. Nevertheless, it is clear Gov. Pawlenty is taking a unilateral decision which is clearly partisan and unwarranted. We have three branches of government, not one, but the governor does not recognize that.
He is also inconsistent in turning away $850,000 in federal sex-education grant with no state match but then accepting $505,000 in federal funds for an abstinence-only program which requires a state match of $379,000. Again, a decision that caters to a special interest group.
Most of the affected programs are in human services, an area which the state budget needs the most shoring up.
The governor has often said that Minnesota doesn't receive its share of federal funding back for residents' tax dollars sent to Washington, D.C. His executive order just made that worse -- sending Minnesota's share to other states just to make a political point for his upcoming presidential campaign.