This afternoon, the DFL-controlled House of Representatives attempted but failed to override Governor Pawleny’s veto of the General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) legislation.  This bill to extend Minnesota’s health care program for the state’s poorest citizens passed both bodies with overwhelming majorities but was vetoed by Gov. Pawlenty.

Why does this matter to providers of older adult services?  Fiscally, there is a huge impact to the state budget, because the individuals will be moved into MinnesotaCare.  The funding source for MinnesotaCare cannot sustain the increase in enrollment and will become insolvent in FY2011, necessitating the need for a transfer of about $100 million from the General Fund to the Health Care Access Fund to cover the gap.

Politically, this sets up a scenario for a very volatile session.  There has already been trouble over the bonding bill and differences in approaching how to balance the budget (for a number of years).  Add to this election politics — all 201 legislative seats are up for election and many of the gubernatorial candidates are current legislators, not to mention the current governor’s travels around the country hint at a run for higher office — you have yourself some hard feelings on both sides of the aisle.

In short, everything done this session will be even more political than it has been in the recent past.   And our advocacy work is cut out for us!