ST. PAUL, Minn. — Gov. Mark Dayton says the nation’s top federal health care official has signed off on Minnesota’s new program to help lower insurance rates.

State lawmakers created a $542 million reinsurance program this year that’s expected to lower premiums in 2018 by as much as 20 percent. But it needs federal approval, and a long wait has caused heartburn in Dayton’s administration.

Dayton told reporters Friday that Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price had assured him the waiver would be approved.

But there’s still a major question about whether the state will see drastic cuts to its health care program for low-income residents. Dayton was informed late last week that the reinsurance approval may be paired with slashing $369 million in funding for MinnesotaCare.

Dayton says that cut is unclear.

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