Medical professionals and activists gathered outside Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s office to create a basic free clinic. They said General Assistance Medical Care is not fixed contrary to what DFL and GOP lawmakers and the governor claimed about an end of session deal. Pharmacist Joel Albers said “The impact is people on GAMC are going to be out on the streets.” The state program serves about 30,000 people at any given time and they are generally described at the poorest and sickest among us. People today said they’d like to see “a consolidation of all public programs like the rest of the world.” They noted a deficit that could be as big as $8 billion next session and said current health care spending is unsustainable.
But before their protest could get started, state officials challenged the activists saying they did not have a permit and could not block any doorways. At this point there were five people at the protest. One official could be heard saying “it becomes a public safety issue.” Albers responded saying “It’s important for us to be in the hallway of the governor’s office. That’s our right as citizens.” The then half of dozen folks were allowed to continue with about as many members of the media present.