GOP legislators who pushed MinnCare cuts under scrutiny

Published 10:50 am Monday, December 10, 2012

By Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio News

ST. PAUL — A Republican state representative who steered legislation through the House to drop thousands of people from the state-run MinnesotaCare program is an independent contractor for an insurance brokerage firm that lobbied for the change.

State Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, led the GOP effort to cut spending in the state’s Health and Human Services budget when the Republicans controlled the Legislature. Now, both he and his Senate counterpart have business links to the insurance industry, which has some other lawmakers asking whether the arrangement violates ethics rules.

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Gottwalt, who served as chairman of the House Human Services Reform Committee, sponsored a bill that was designed to divert some recipients of the state-subsidized health insurance program MinnesotaCare to the private insurance market.

Months after the legislation passed in July 2011, Gottwalt obtained a license to sell insurance and became an associate with a firm that pushed for the bill.

Gottwalt contended there was no conflict of interest and that he was not breaking any laws or rules.

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