We recently learned that after ending health insurance for 30,000 of the poorest Minnesotans on a program called General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC), Governor Pawlenty plans to shift most of these individuals to MinnesotaCare. While MinnesotaCare has worked extremely well for working Minnesotans who are unable to access affordable health insurance elsewhere, the GAMC has very different needs. According to the Minnesota Budget Project:
“It’s clear that while moving GAMC participants onto MinnesotaCare may provide a little temporary relief to this population, it is not a solution. GAMC was created precisely because this population faces extraordinary challenges and could not be served by other health care options.”
MinnesotaCare is funded through income-based premiums and a health care provider tax. Nearly all of the individuals transitioning to MinnesotaCare from GAMC will pay very little or not at all, further stressing the insurance plan’s trust fund.
Is MinnesotaCare the right plan for a population with very different needs? Is this a backdoor way for Governor Pawlenty and his conservative allies to break MinnesotaCare? Should we restore GAMC?