ST. PAUL, MINN. – The doctors caucus of the Minnesota Legislature, Senator Matt Klein (DFL-Mendota Heights), Senator Scott Jensen (GOP-Chaska), Representative Kelly Morrison (DFL-Deephaven), and Representative Alice Mann (DFL-Lakeville) announced today a package of three bipartisan bills to make health care more accessible and affordable in Minnesota.
“The high cost of health care remains a burden on far too many Minnesotans regardless of their age, income, or zip code,” said Senator Klein. “These bills are real, bipartisan proposals that can take meaningful steps in expanding access and reducing costs for thousands of Minnesotans.”
The three bills are all recommendations of the Special Committee on Health Care Affordability and Accessibility, which was chaired by Senator Jensen, and represent his top priorities in the last session of his time in the Senate.
“Ideas and needs should drive policy, not fear or partisan politics,” said Senator Jensen. “When crucial conversations are denied, learning is sacrificed.”
The first bill, SF 353, would create a Pharmacy Affordability Commission of appointed personnel who would periodically review changes in drug pricing. If drastic changes in prices were made, the commission would investigate the justification for the change and be empowered to set limits on the costs of those medications.
“Minnesotans deserve access to the medication they need at a price they can afford,” said Representative Morrison, a practicing physician and chief House author of the bill. “Having an independent commission in place to review problematic pricing of prescription drugs would help protect people from excessive costs and ensure prescription drug prices are affordable.”
The second, SF 352, provides direct relief for Minnesotans with high health insurance premiums through premium tax credits instead of reinsurance. Instead of a blank check for insurance companies, Minnesotans would have direct, guaranteed cost reduction.
The third bill, SF 2252, expands access to mental health services by requiring health insurance policies to cover a defined number of mental health visits each year. Currently, all three bills include bipartisan co-authors in the Senate.