Rep. Erin Murphy. Representing St. Paul District 64A

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After announcing Thursday he plans to make billions of dollars in budget cuts alone without public or legislative input, Governor Tim Pawlenty eliminated General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) in Minnesota. With one line item veto late Thursday night, the governor cut $381 million that was dedicated exclusively to treat the poorest people in the state - including veterans, senior citizens, and the mentally ill.

Those cuts may result in the full or partial closure of Regions Hospital in St. Paul. By eliminating GAMC, the hospital will face a $46 million budget cut - 10% of its gross revenue. Regions Hospital employs roughly 5,000 people and serves nearly 23,000 patients every year.

The following is a statement from local state lawmakers deeply concerned about these devastating cuts to Regions Hospital and the potential impact on residents of St. Paul and the surrounding suburbs:


"Governor Pawlenty’s veto pen single-handedly put Regions Hospital in St. Paul at serious risk of significantly cutting back critical services or potentially closing its doors. This is a devastating blow to tens of thousands of citizens in St. Paul and the surrounding communities who rely on Regions Hospital for quality, expert medical care. It has threatened thousands of jobs, and the health and safety of our communities.

This deep and devastating cut could have been avoided. Lawmakers offered a responsible alternative that would have cut Regions Hospital only $5.7 million - a budget reduction the hospital could have sustained without significantly drawing back critical medical services to our community.

By eliminating GAMC, Governor Pawlenty has cut 30,000 of Minnesota’s poorest, sickest citizens off health care. Many are veterans, senior citizens, people with mentally illness, or those who are homeless. 70% have expensive mental health or chemical dependency challenges, and 40% have chronic disease that leads to frequent hospitalization. Without care, these Minnesotans will be at risk of devastating health implications.

Finally, these cuts have made the state’s budget shortfall even worse. Eliminating GAMC in Minnesota costs the state $100 million in federal matching funds. It also requires that inmates in county jails and sex offenders who are constitutionally required access to medical care must now be paid for in general fund dollars.

We are deeply disappointed in Governor Pawlenty’s decision to balance the budget with jobs and deep cuts to hospitals. In the final days of session, we’ll keep fighting to protect jobs and keep Minnesota’s hospitals whole."