Pawlenty: Hospitals don't have choice to refuse low-income health care plan

Gov. Tim Pawlenty says hospitals will have no choice but to participate in a new health coverage program for low-income Minnesotans.

Pawlenty signed legislation earlier this session that retools General Assistance Medical Care to continue coverage to more than 30,000 patients. But Hennepin County officials voted this week to keep their large, safety-net hospital out of the new program.

Pawlenty told reporters Thursday that he thinks they will eventually participate.

"Once the negotiating deadline or window closes, namely the end of the legislative session, they're going to participate because their choice will be to get some money or no money," said Pawlenty. "And they have to treat and serve that population. So, they'll participate. They won't turn down money, in my view."

DFL legislators want the state to move quickly to get federal health care money that could cover the same population as GAMC. Pawlenty and other Republicans say the federal option is too expensive because the state would have to match the money.

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