It was no surprise last night (Tues)/this morning when the Minnesota Senate passed a major state budget bill, minus Governor Tim Walz’s plan to make health insurance through MinnesotaCare available to all residents regardless of income. Ham Lake Senator Michelle Benson says Republicans want the state Human Services Department to make sure ineligible people don’t stay on state programs:

“They need to get their house in order before we can even think about doing the governor’s OneCare program.”

But when asked whether Republicans would allow the governor any path toward “OneCare”, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka flat-out said “no” — because he says Republicans believe it’s the wrong way to go.   Governor Walz contends the state’s collective negotiating power is the best way to bring down health care costs — but Republicans argue a free market system is the only way to do it.