Thursday, January 21, 2010

Save GAMC and it may save you.

The countdown on the Fix It Now MN website is at 38 days, 6 hours, 44 minutes, and ticking until GAMC (General Assistance Medical Care) ends. Providing health care coverage for the poorest of the poor in Minnesota, GAMC was eliminated by Governor Pawlenty via a line item veto at the end of the last legislative session.

Over 33 years ago, the Minnesota State Legislature created GAMC to avoid shifting the costs of medical care for the poorest Minnesotans to those who have health coverage. On March 1, 2010, over 35,000 Minnesotans will lose their basic health safety net. These individuals, on average, make less than $8,000 annually and most earn less than $2,700 each year. The loss of GAMC is a health care coverage issue, a public safety issue, a social justice issue, as well as an economic issue.

Currently, Minnesota hospitals and clinics provide $462 million in uncompensated care. Hennepin County Medical Center and Regions Hospital are the only hospitals obligated by state law to provide care for the poorest Minnesotans, regardless of whether they are reimbursed for that care. Unless legislators act quickly in the coming weeks, these hospitals will be forced to raise the $380 million needed through alternative means. Without another program or funding stream, hospitals face two options: Pass the cost on to other health care consumers or eliminate vital medical services that we all benefit from, including burn treatment centers and Level I adult and pediatric trauma centers.

To learn more about GAMC and to urge your legislators to ensure health coverage for the poorest of the poor in Minnesota, visit Fix It Now MN or the Save GAMC coalition. Act fast - there's only 38 days, 6 hours, 43 minutes, 26 seconds until GAMC is eliminated.

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