Health care a sticking point as budget talks turn specific

Published 8:15 am Thursday, May 18, 2017

ST. PAUL — Legislative leaders are diving into the specifics of their budget disagreements. And they don’t like what they see.

Gov. Mark Dayton and top Republicans have been trading offers in private meetings this week to solve a $1 billion gap in budget negotiations. They have until Monday night to finalize a new two-year budget.

The focus turned Wednesday to health care spending. Republicans are aiming to cut at least $400 million through efficiencies like weeding out ineligible people from public programs. Senate Majority leader Paul Gazelka says it’s critical to “reduce the growth” in one of the largest slices of the budget.

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But Dayton says he thinks some of those potential savings are overblown. He says cutting that much would harm “real programs and real people.”