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Pawlenty Rejects "Obamacare" Funding for Minnesota

Republican Govenors Association Pawlenty
Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota takes part in a session in Miami on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008, of the annual Republican Governors Association Conference. AP Photo/John Watson-Riley

Attacking President Obama's health care reforms from all angles, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty today issued an executive order directing state agencies to turn down any discretionary funding from the legislation.

The health care reform package signed into law earlier this year "represents a dramatic attempt to assert federal command and control over this country's health care system," the potential Republican presidential candidate wrote in the executive order.

Pawlenty is specifically directing state agencies to avoid taking grants in 15 categories, the Associated Press reports. One of the categories is sex education, for which Pawlenty on Monday already rejected an $850,000 grant.

"The boundary between state and federal government must be maintained to prevent an unwise and unsustainable federal takeover of health care in our state," Pawlenty wrote in the executive order.

He criticized the "individual mandate," or the requirement for all individuals to acquire health insurance, as just one of the "unprecedented federal intrusions into individual liberty" included in the reforms. Pawlenty also blasted the legislation for creating "massive new spending commitments at a time when the growing federal government debt threatens private sector economic growth" while relying on revenue from "increased taxes and fees coupled with unrealistic assumptions regarding purported future cost-savings."

Pawlenty said at an event in St. Paul today that he won't turn down federal cash for categories that align with the direction of Minnesota's health care policy, the AP reports. He added that his successor could choose to take other funding "if that's consistent with what they think is wise."

The governor will step down after his second term ends in January. He won't be in office when most of the federal health care reforms are enacted in 2014 and cannot prevent his state from participating in the new federal programs at that point.

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