Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty unveiled budget details for his proposal to expand health coverage for uninsured children and shift some state-subsidized plans into the private market. The Republican governors proposal would cost $31 million between 2008 and 2009 and $90 million overall, according to statements released by his office. That includes $17 million to expand eligibility and curb premiums for children under MinnesotaCare, a public health plan for low-income residents. MinnesotaCare also would offer alternative, market-based options with preventive-care incentives. Pawlenty also would direct $12 million to a not-for-profit co-op, the Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange, which would allow individuals to use pre-tax dollars to buy coverage. Businesses with 11 or more employees would be required to offer the pre-tax coverage option; employers would receive tax breaks that would cut $2.3 million from state revenue by 2009 and $8.1 million by 2011. Efforts to expand and overhaul mental healthcare would receive $45 million, while $18.5 million would be earmarked for electronic medical record adoption. In addition to the reform-related spending, Pawlentys budget plan also contains other healthcare spending increases, including $92 million to raise payments to long-term-care providers in 2008 and 2009. -- by Melanie Evans
Minn. governor details reform costs
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