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Mark Dayton talks flood and Medicaid at National and Midwest governors meetings


Gov. Mark Dayton met today with the governors of North Dakota and South Dakota and the premier of Manitoba to discuss a “coordinated response” to the anticipated spring floods.

Dayton said, too, that National Guard leaders and Department of Public Safety officials from the three states and the Canadian province are working together to prepare for what could be record floods.

Dayton was speaking to Twin Cities journalists via telephone from Washington, D.C., where the National Governors Association and the Midwest Governors Association were conducting meetings. He was named to the NGA’s executive committee.

Dayton said he met for a second time this week with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to discuss a trade mission to China this summer.

The nation’s governors also discussed the pressing funding increases of Medicaid on state coffers.

According to data presented by Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, Medicaid spending as a percentage of Minnesota’s general fund has spiked over the past two decades. In 1990, 10.2 percent of the general fund was committed to Medicaid spending; in 2000, it was 15.1 percent; in 2009, the spending had increased to 20.6 percent of the state’s general fund.

With ever more increasing costs going forward, this is “a great concern to all of the governors,” Dayton said.

A gathering at the White House with President and Mrs. Obama was scheduled for Sunday evening.