Pawlenty signs GAMC extension

Gov. Pawlenty signed a bill Friday that continues state subsidized health care coverage for the state's poorest residents.

The House and Senate passed the bill after reaching a compromise with Pawlenty's office. The system changes how hospitals will be paid for caring for people on the General Assisted Medical Care program.

General Assistance Medical Care covers more than 30,000 adults each month, including the homeless, veterans, drug addicts and those with mental illnesses. Most live on less than $8 a day.

Several hospital officials say they're concerned that the funding won't cover the cost of care, but Pawlenty said he's moving on with the plan as is.

"If it needs to be adjusted down the road, we'll certainly look at that," Pawlenty said. "We need to go forward with this compromise. It's bipartisan. It was worked over many days and weeks, and it's important that we fulfill the agreement that was reached."

Democrats who negotiated the bill say they understand hospitals will have to pick up most of the tab, and say they're willing to take another look at the program once Pawlenty leaves office in January.

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