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Senator Pederson Votes in Favor of Medicaid Expansion, Employee Raise Bills [AUDIO]

State Senator John Pederson

ST. CLOUD – A plan adding more than 35,000 people to government-subsidized health insurance rolls in Minnesota is headed to Governor Mark Dayton’s Desk.

The state Senate voted 45 to 22 yesterday (Thursday) to approve the Medicaid expansion.

Senator John Pederson of St. Cloud was one of just six Republican senators to vote in favor of the bill.

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Pederson says he supported the bill because it will benefit the St. Cloud Hospital, one of the largest employers in the St. Cloud area.  He says, under the bill, the hospital will be reimbursed with Federal dollars.  Supporters say it will save the state $129 million over the next two years.

However, opponents like State Senator Michelle Fischbach of Paynesville say they worry the Federal government will renig on its promise to cover the costs, leaving the state to foot the bill.

Governor Mark Dayton is also expected to sign a bill giving 35,000 state employees a two percent raise.  Pederson says he voted in favor of the bill, despite getting “a fair amount of criticism” for it, because it will impact several local residents.

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The contract will give those employees their first raise in three years.  The new deal is set to expire June 30th.  Fischbach also voted against this bill. She says she thought it needed more tweaking before being approved.

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