Governor line item vetoes health care for adults

Late on Thursday night, Governor Pawlenty signed the health and human services omnibus bill, but not before using his line item veto power to eliminate $381 million in funding for General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) in FY 2011. This program serves very low-income adults without children. The Governor’s line item veto eliminates public health care coverage for tens of thousands of Minnesotans starting in the second year of the biennium (we’ll learn more about the impact in the coming days). In a letter to legislators, the Governor promises additional cuts to health and human services if he uses unallotment to balance the state’s budget (see our blog on the unallotment issue).

The Governor waits until the second year of the biennium to implement the cut, telling the legislature that it “will have an opportunity to address this change further if it chooses.”

-Christina Wessel

About Christina Wessel

Christina served as the Minnesota Budget Project's deputy director until January 2014.
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2 Responses to Governor line item vetoes health care for adults

  1. DJ says:

    When the Governor vetoes the funding for something like the GAMC program; but the legislature does not amend the statute with the obligation to provide the health care coverage to needy Minnesotans how does that effect the state forecast in next biennium?

    • Christina Wessel says:

      That’s a good question – and Represenative Solberg asked it this morning at the Legislative Commission Planning and Fiscal Policy. Commissioner Hanson seemed to indicate that if there is no funding appropriated for the program, then it would not show up in the forecast. However, the Governor cannot line item veto the language that creates GAMC and determines eligibility and benefits for the program. We’ll have to see how this issue plays out over the coming days as the legislature and administration grapple with the implications of unallotment.

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