The Minnesota Senate will meet in session Thursday morning with one big item on its potential agenda: overturning Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto of a bill that would save public health insurance for the poorest Minnesotans.
The bill, SF 2168 from Sen. Linda Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis, would have modified the state’s General Assistance Medical Care and MinnesotaCare public health insurance programs to preserve insurance for 33,000 Minnesotans enrolled in the GAMC program.
That program is scheduled to phase out by March 1 if nothing is done, because Pawlenty cut it last year in his unalottment actions to eliminate the state’s budget deficit. He maintains most of the people kicked off GAMC could move to MinnesotaCare or other programs.
Pawlenty vetoed the bill, saying that it did not address cost issues with the program and did not represent significant reform, despite the fact that the Minnesota Hospital Association and Minnesota Medical Association had agreed to cuts in reimbursement through the program to help keep it solvent.
DFLers have a veto-proof majority in the Senate, so today’s vote is not expected to be dramatic. But it moves the action to the House, where DFLers would have to convince three Republicans to join with them to overturn the veto.
The bill passed with veto-proof majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives before going to Pawlenty, but House Republicans have said they will stand with their Governor to enforce his veto.
DFL lawmakers have met with Pawlenty and his officials to try to hammer out an agreement before that vote would take place, possibly sometime next week.
UPDATE: On a 45-21 party line vote, the Senate voted to overturn Pawlenty’s veto. Now it’s up to the House of Representatives.