The Minnesota House of Representatives on Monday came up three votes short of overriding Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto of a bill that would provide a short-term fix to keep thousands of the poorest Minnesotans from being kicked off public health insurance beginning this month.
The House vote was 86-47 to override Pawlenty’s veto of SF 2168, a bill that provides funding for the General Assistance Medical Care program for the next 18 months. To get the two-thirds majority, 90 votes were needed.
When no Republicans joined 87 DFLers in voting to overturn Pawlenty’s veto, House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, changed his vote to “no” in a procedural move that allowed him to table the bill for possible reconsideration.
What the result means is that, beginning today, automatic enrollment notices will start going out to tens of thousands of Minnesotans enrolled in the safety net public health insurance program to notify them that they will have to find other means of insuring their medical costs.
Sertich’s vote and maneuver means that negotiations could continue with Pawlenty’s administration and House Republicans to find another solution.
Pawlenty has said that many will be able to enroll in other public health programs such as MinnesotaCare, but DFLers say that many will slip through the cracks and that the additional burden on MinnesotaCare will bankrupt the Health Care Access Fund that pays for it.
House Republicans initially supported the bill, which passed the body on a bipartisan 125-9 vote. But after Pawlenty’s veto, House Republican leaders said they were voting to send the bill to conference committee for improvements and continued negotiations with Pawlenty.
When the Senate received the bill from the House, however, DFL leaders there voted to accept the House bill without changes, meaning no conference committee was needed. The bill went straight to Pawlenty, who vetoed it, saying it did not reform the GAMC program enough and did not control spiraling costs.