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WASHINGTON — President Obama thinks his health care law makes states an offer they can’t refuse. Whether to expand Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor and disabled, could be the most important decision facing governors and legislatures this year. The repercussions go beyond their budgets, directly affecting the well-being of residents and the finances of critical hospitals. Here’s the offer:
MINNEAPOLIS — Rick Adelman is back on the court and coaching basketball after three weeks away to help his wife through a health scare. His Minnesota Timberwolves lost nine of 11 games without him to fall behind in the powerful Western Conference playoff race. Adelman helped restore hope in this downtrodden franchise when he came aboard before last season. So the Timberwolves have missed him. In some ways, though, Adelman may need the Wolves as much as they need him.
MINNEAPOLIS — With 195 losses over the last two years, the Minnesota Twins have a lot to fix. Starting pitching is on top of the list, and revamping the rotation might be the most complicated repair in the majors. The Twins focused on the future by trading not one but two center fielders to acquire a couple of potential aces, but they also had a 2013 rotation to address. So they began, naturally, by increasing the competition.
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota has developed a troubling pattern since hiring coach Tubby Smith: a midseason slide. The Gophers are counting on a return home this week to help restore their rhythm and turn the current four-game losing streak into an aberration rather than a trend. “It’s mostly mental. We have to just keep having faith,” center Trevor Mbakwe said. “We all still believe we’re one of the best teams in the country. Now we’ve just got to go out and play that way.
— The breathtaking model on your magazine cover: Of course she's not that thin and unblemished. That reality show you never miss? You're shocked — shocked that its real-life drama isn't 100 percent unscripted. And that diva who may or may not have mouthed the words to the national anthem to her own prerecorded voice? Yeah, well, so what? It was a big moment, and she wanted to sound her best.
MANKATO (AP) — Minnesota used two power-play goals and a strong night in net by freshman goalie Adam Wilcox to beat Minnesota State, Mankato 4-1 on Saturday in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Nate Schmidt and Zach Budish had power-play goals for the Gophers (18-4-4, 10-4-4), who avenged Friday’s 2-1 loss that knocked the NCAA’s top-ranked team from the WCHA lead. Wilcox made 26 saves to keep the Gophers in a second-place tie in the WCHA, one point behind St. Cloud State. “We bounced back when we needed to,” Wilcox said.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Vladimir Sobotka scored from close range at 2:16 of overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Sunday night. St. Louis is 5-1, its best start since winning seven of its first eight in 1997-98. Minnesota’s Dany Heatley forced the overtime, tying it at 4 when he batted the puck out of the air with 4:08 left in regulation for his fourth goal of the season. Chris Stewart, Barret Jackman, Wade Redden and Patrik Berglund also scored for St. Louis, and Brian Elliott, getting his first home start, made 12 saves.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Traevon Jackson hadn’t made many shots the past few games. Still, with the game on the line Saturday, the Wisconsin sophomore point guard was full of confidence. He came through for the Badgers. Jackson narrowly beat the shot clock and hit a 15-foot jumper from the right side with 4 seconds left as Wisconsin edged No. 12 Minnesota 45-44, the Golden Gophers’ fourth straight loss. “I didn’t have any doubt,” said Jackson, who also hit a free throw-line jumper with 1:03 remaining to tie the score at 43 and finished with nine points.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Gerald Henderson made a 3-pointer with 4.6 seconds left to lift the Charlotte Bobcats to a 102-101 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night, snapping a 16-game home losing streak. Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 25 points and Ramon Sessions finished with 23 as the Bobcats won at home for the first time since Nov. 21. Luke Ridnour had 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists to lead Minnesota.
ST. PAUL — Big changes are coming in how a fourth of all Minnesotans get health insurance as the state rushes to build a new kind of marketplace that will help about 1.3 million people choose their best coverage options. It’s called a health care exchange, a centerpiece of the Obama administration’s health care overhaul. If it lives up to advance billing, consumers will go to a web site similar to Expedia or Travelocity where they can get the information they need to choose a plan, learn if they qualify for financial assistance and sign up — all in less than an hour.