There have been rising concerns across Minnesota over a wave of budget cuts in the state's health care system, according to a Star Tribune report.
Hospitals, including Hennepin County Medical Center and Regions Hospital, and clinics have had to cut positions and reduce services because of the statewide budget cuts.
Advocacy groups have voiced major concerns over cuts on HCMC's budget in particular. The hospital lost $12 million last year in Gov. Tim Pawlenty's unallotment process, this year it cut 200 positions, and it will cut another $43 million soon.
This would "tip this hospital over and create a crisis," said Dr. Joseph Clinton, chief of emergency medicine in the Star Tribune report. "It would mean unacceptable deaths for patients who can't get care."
Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung said Thursday that the decisions were difficult "but they were necessary in order to balance the state budget during a time of unprecedented economic challenges."
The governor also plans to eliminate General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC), which would significantly reduce the health care coverage of those with chronic illnesses and mental health problems.
Minnesota Public Radio reported that the Minnesota Department of Human Services outlined a proposal to transfer 28,000 people from GAMC into MinnesotaCare, but many, like Hennepin County Chairman Mike Opat, say the plan will not work because MinnesotaCare caps payments and is less generous than GAMC.
Democratic state lawmakers have been developing a plan to help the sickest GAMC patients despite the budget cuts; details of the plan will be out in a few weeks, according to MPR.