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Dayton quick to criticize new health-related message from GOP lawmaker

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news Willmar, 56201
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Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton claims that presidential politics is behind U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's request that he void an executive order issued during his first week in office.

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She said that a federal health care program Dayton signed onto will cost the state.

"All across the country we're seeing that ObamaCare is driving up health care costs," the Minnesota Re-publican said. "Insurance premiums are rising.

Bureaucrats are starting a process that will expand the list of minimum benefits insurance companies must offer."

New federal healthcare programs, shepherded by President Obama, are kicking in over several years.

Bachmann, a potential presidential candidate, reminded Dayton that congressional Republicans are trying to overturn the federal reform passed last year.

"Yet here in Minnesota, Gov. Dayton is unyielding in his desire to fully commit our state to it," Bachmann said during a state Capitol news conference.

Dayton signed the order to enroll in an expanded Medicaid program (known in Minnesota as Medical Assistance). Dayton said that more poor and disabled Minnesotans will be served by the program, and hospitals, doctors and other health-care providers will benefit.

Dayton said Bachmann is just trying to score points in a run for president. He accused her of "playing presidential politics" with Minnesotans who need health care assistance.

"She has a perfect right to run for president," Dayton said. But she should not be doing it at the expense of Minnesotans."

Minutes before Dayton came out of his office to talk to reporters, his spokeswoman said the governor and Bachmann have a good relationship.

Bachmann and state Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, made vague references about the possibility of a lawsuit over the Dayton order. Upon questioning by reporters, they said they are not now preparing a court challenge.

"That may be a possibility in the future," Bachmann said.

"There always is a legal option," Limmer said.

Bachmann, 54, is in the midst of several high-profile appearances.

After indicating that she is not ruling out a 2012 presidential run, on Friday she appeared in the country's first presidential caucus state, Iowa. More than 50 journalists covered her speech, in which she refused to say how seriously she was looking at a White House campaign.

On Saturday, she appeared at an anti-abortion rally on the Minnesota Capitol steps. On Tuesday, she takes the rare move to deliver her own national rebuttal to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. It will be streamed live at www.teapartyexpress.org.

Bachmann served in the Minnesota Senate before moving to the U.S. House in 2007. Since arriving in Washington, she has become a spokeswoman for the conservative and libertarian movements, such as the Tea Party.

She grew up in the northern Twin Cities area and now lives in Stillwater. Her congressional district stretches from Stillwater on the east to St. Cloud on the west, taking in independence-minded northern Twin Cities suburbs.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.

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Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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