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A Sad Day in Minnesota

From the Star-Tribune:

A partisan divide over health care for poor

By Lori Sturdevant

Gov. Tim Pawlenty has apparently succeeded in making Minnesota's decades-long, bipartisan commitment to basic health care for the indigent poor a partisan issue.
On a straight party-line 87-47 vote, the Minnesota House Sunday fell three votes short of the votes needed to override Pawlenty's May 14 veto of a $380 million/year health care program for adults with incomes less than $7,800 per year.

No Republican broke ranks to continue the program past July 1, 2010, when the veto would have it disappear. That's so despite word from the state's safety-net hospitals that they will begin layoffs immediately to prepare for the compensation they will lose with the elimination of the program. For Hennepin County Medical Center, the expected loss is a whopping $108 million in fiscal 2011.

DFLers warned that depriving the poor of routine medical care would only cost society more, as those now covered by the vetoed program seek medical care at costly emergency rooms. But money was not the focus of the House debate; morality was. This somber, emotion-laden debate seemed to be about Minnesota's soul. DFLers invoked Scripture and, in some instances, shed tears as they pleaded with Pawlenty's fellow Republicans to put politics aside and vote to preserve health care for "the least of these." They pointed out that the bulk of the program's beneficiaries suffer from mental illness, chemical dependency, and chronic disorders including diabetes, arthritis and heart disease.

Some Republicans said they would uphold Pawlenty's position in hope that it would lead to changes that would slow the growth in state health care spending. Others said the veto would not have been necessary if DFLers had not funded so many programs of lesser priority. That position begs the question: why weren't those lower-priority programs the targets of the governor's veto, instead of a program that has made a life-or-death difference to the poor?

From Twittter:

PatKessler House DFL Majority fails to override TPaw veto of medical assistance to the poor. 87 yes, 47 no.... party line vote falls three short.

PoliticsMNRT @KTAndrea: I'm a little bit stunned.I'm a fifth generation Mn...we always look aftr our neighbors. Today, that value was thrown under a bus

PatKessler Growing sense: Hse Dems not interested in joining TPaw to cut budget for peeps they represent. 'he thinks he can cut it himself? let him.'


I've been watching this train wreck unfold on your blog for the past few days. I am deeply sorry that the people of Minnesota must suffer under the rule of your wingnut governor. Perhaps by some stroke of luck things will turn around. But if things don't turn around, the ensuing disaster may finally provide the evidence this country needs to bring this right wing foolishness to an end once and for all.

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