Representative Karen Clark, (DFL- Minneapolis) was one of the first people to publicly call attention to the draconian cuts that had been made to Minnesota’s Emergency Medical Assistance (EMA) by last year’s special session.
Since the DFL legislators had been left out of the negotiations with the Republican leadership and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, she wasn’t aware of the extent of the cuts until December, 2011, when some of the immigrant rights groups brought the story to her.
Letters from the Department of Human Services had gone out to EMA recipients in late November notifying of the cessation of emergency service on January 1, 2012, including dialysis, chemotherapy, psychiatric medications and inhalation services. This was announced to the public on December 29, 2011, at a press conference conducted by Clark and Sen. Jeff Hayden.
Clark says that the Governor’s office and Department of Human Services did not know about the language in the final bill until late 2011.
These cuts have resulted in the death of at least one person. Republican leadership claims that much of the action resulted in unintended consequences. Clark says, “I am of course, very concerned about undocumented people, who were as I understand it, the intention was to cut them off.”
A new bill is making its way through the final weeks of the legislature and Clark, Hayden and the DFL caucus are working with the Republican leadership to remedy some of the wrongs of the past bill.