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Editorial: State deal protects vulnerable citizens

Minnesota's Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the Legislature did the correct thing Wednesday reaching a compromise to provide state-sponsored health coverage to the poor.

The compromise measure extended the state's General Assistance Medical Care program. GAMC was scheduled to expire April 1, following Pawlenty's veto last spring as part of his state budget balance plan last year.

The GAMC compromise worked out this week controls spending, puts hospitals in charge of coordinating care for patients and prevents switching the same patients to less comprehensive programs.

Basically, our state leaders figured out a plan for Minnesota to take care of its most vulnerable, sickest and poorest individuals, including the homeless, mentally ill, drug addicts and veterans.

The compromise is not perfect. Outstate hospitals, such as Rice Memorial in Willmar, are expected to lose compensation under the new program.

Most importantly, Minnesota stepped forward and did the right thing for these people in need.