The end of the 2020 session arrived with both a flurry of activity as well as an expectation that legislators will soon be back in St. Paul for a special session. The COVID-19 pandemic scrambled the priorities of the House, Senate, and governor, and several high-profile items – a bonding bill most notably – remain unfinished. State statute requires the Legislature to return in the likely event the governor wishes to extend the peacetime emergency declaration past June 12.
After several sessions of effort, as well as by the action of dozens of Minnesota communities and counties, as well as the federal government, Governor Walz signed legislation raising the age to purchase tobacco and nicotine products to 21. The move is anticipated to prevent thousands of Minnesotans from becoming addicted to nicotine, as the vast majority of smokers begin before the age of 21. Passage of T21 was a 2020 priority issue for the MNAAP.
The effort to reform how prior authorization (PA) is governed passed the Legislature by wide, bipartisan margins and awaits the governor’s likely signature soon. The effort, strongly supported by the MNAAP, will speed the delivery of care when a drug or procedure requires PA, while also requiring health plans to post the written clinical criteria that governs their PA requirements. The bill also includes continuity of care provisions that will ensure coverage when a patient switches health plans or insurance products. And finally, the bill requires that “peer to peer” appeals be conducted by a Minnesota-licensed physician with expertise in the same or similar specialty as the condition or health care service being considered.
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