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Statement from Lawrence Massa, CEO and President, Minnesota Hospital Association
Date:2/15/2010

Governor Pawlenty's proposed budget will unravel the state's health care safety net

ST. PAUL, Minn., Feb. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tim Pawlenty's budget proposal announced today will severely hurt Minnesota's hospitals and the citizens they serve. His proposed budget would reduce payment rates for patients in state health programs, cut spending on medical education and put adults without children now covered by MinnesotaCare into the growing ranks of the uninsured. The current budget proposal would only make things worse in both the short term and the long term. If the governor's budget is adopted, hospitals will more than likely need to layoff more skilled workers and cut much-needed services.

In addition to cutting $347 million from Health and Human Services, his budget increases the number of people in Minnesota without health insurance by kicking an estimated 21,500 people out of MinnesotaCare. As more and more Minnesotans become unemployed, the need for these programs is increasing.

Without insurance, these people are likely to rely on hospitals' emergency rooms as their sole source of health care, thereby increasing hospitals' growing uncompensated care costs and further straining our fragile health care system's ability to deliver quality, timely care. Cutting health care coverage is the worse thing you can do in the middle of a recession. People will still get sick and will be forced to access care in the ER, which is the most expensive place to get care.

Patient care and accessibility to health care are bound to suffer if the governor's budget goes into effect. The price businesses and individuals pay for health insurance is likely to increase as health car
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SOURCE Minnesota Hospital Association
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