Minnesota Catholic Bishops Urge Legislature To Support A Reformed General Assistance Medical Care Program

Saint Paul – In a February 18, 2010 letter to members of the Minnesota House of Representatives, the Minnesota Catholic bishops urged lawmakers to support a reformed General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) program that “not only guarantees accessible and quality care to our neighbors with the greatest needs, but does so in a way that safeguards human life and dignity.” The bishops continued, “when we deny health care for any human person, we ignore their human dignity. And when we ignore their human dignity, we fail to recognize and value human life itself.”
GAMC is an essential state-funded health care program that annually provides basic care to 77,000 of Minnesota’s poorest and most vulnerable adults. It is scheduled to end on April 1, 2010. The majority of Minnesotans receiving GAMC have as their only income the $203 per month they receive from General Assistance payments. One-third of Minnesotans enrolled in GAMC are homeless, more than half suffer from mental illness or chemical dependency, and nearly one-third live with a chronic medical illness. The bishops stated that the focus of GAMC reform efforts must be “providing accessible health care coverage to our neighbors in need.”
The Minnesota House of Representatives is expected to vote on a reformed GAMC program (House File 2680) during today’s 11:00 a.m. floor session.
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