At Issue: Mediation Between Dayton, Legislative Leaders Ends Abruptly

September 24, 2017 09:27 PM

Mediation Talks Between Gov. Dayton, Legislative Leaders Break Down

Talks came to an abrupt end Friday when Gov. Mark Dayton angrily walked away from a mediation session with lawmakers. The mediator said talks came to an "irreconcilable impasse" after just a day-and-a-half of negotiating. Dayton held a news conference Friday to voice his displeasure with Republican legislative leaders.

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RELATED: Mediation Over Legislative Funding Set for this Week, Details Kept Under Wraps

The mediation sessions were held behind closed doors at a law firm in downtown Minneapolis. Dayton says it was during those talks that he learned the Legislature actually has enough money to keep operating until February when lawmakers reconvene for the 2018 Legislative session, even though they claimed they would have to lay off staff in the new few months. In other words, that revelation left Dayton with almost no leverage to force the Legislature to make changes to the tax bill he's demanded since vetoing most of their funding back in May.

The issue now goes back to the Minnesota Supreme Court, but it's unclear what ruling they could make now that would give Dayton a victory. If the Legislature has enough money to get to February, they can either override the governor's veto or pass new funding and hope he signs it.

Federal Government Approves Minnesota's Reinsurance Program, Lower Rates to be Published

Dayton says Minnesota has received federal approval to implement a reinsurance program. It would lower health insurance rates for people who purchase individual plans on the state health care exchange.

State lawmakers approved the $542 million reinsurance program early in the 2017 legislative session, but it needed federal approval to be implemented. The program could lower premiums by as much as 20 percent next year. 

RELATED: Reinsurance Approval Costly for Minnesota

Open enrollment periods begin in the next few weeks. Dayton has instructed the Department of Commerce and MNsure to publish those lower rates in time for open enrollment.

It's not clear, at this point, how this approval would impact MinnesotaCare. Earlier in the week, the federal government threatened to slash $369 million in MinnesotaCare funding if it approved the state reinsurance program. 

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Amanda Theisen

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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