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Legislative Updates & Alerts

During the legislative session, MNAAP members receive bi-weekly legislative updates emailed to them from the chapter’s policy chair and lobbyist.

The 2019 session runs from Jan 8 to May 20.

May 13, 2019

With less than two weeks remaining in the legislative session, time is of the essence to make sure Minnesota senators know action must be taken to repeal the sunset of the provider tax.

The provider tax is a time-tested, reliable way to fund essential health care services. It’s essential to repeal the December 31 sunset of this tax to ensure all Minnesotans – especially children — have access to the coverage and care they need. The revenue loss of about $700 million per year means the state would need to make significant cuts or find money elsewhere. While the House included the provider tax in its Health and Human Services Finance bill, the Senate did not and makes up the loss with drastic cuts to the healthcare, childcare, and home care programs. As a result, there could be a significant gap that would need to be filled by the general fund as well as cuts to funding.

Please call your member in the Minnesota Senate — especially if he or she represents you or your patients — and ask them to preserve the provider tax in order to maintain adequate funding for the Health Care Access Fund.  

Use one or two of the talking points below to craft your personal message, and if you feel comfortable, share your personal story about why this matters to you.

Find your senator here: https://www.gis.leg.mn/iMaps/districts

Sample script for call/email: My name is [name] and I live at [address]. As a provider, I support the provider tax because it is essential to funding the Health Care Access Fund. [Add your personal story or a few talking points about why you support maintaining the health care provider tax]. I hope Senator [X] will urge legislators to repeal the sunset of the provider tax and maintain funding for the Health Care Access Fund. Thank you.

Talking points you can use:

  • For more than 25 years, Minnesota’s health care provider tax has been the primary funding source for the Health Care Access Fund, helping Minnesotans get the health care they need when they need it.
  • Today, 1 in 5 Minnesotans have better access to doctors, medications, and the care they need thanks to Medicaid and MinnesotaCare, programs funded by the health care provider tax.
  • Without the provider tax, Minnesota faces a $1.3 billion dollar hole in our biennial budget, and the health care of our friends and neighbors is at risk.
  • The health care provider tax is a time-tested, reliable way to fund essential health care services. Now is not the time to slash services, or experiment with unvetted funding sources.

 

April 9, 2019

The 2019 legislative session’s primary task of crafting a biennial budget to fund state government operations for two years accelerated in recent days as the House HHS finance committee acted upon an omnibus bill. The legislation includes dozens of proposals that would fund most state health care and human service programs. Included in the bill are major investments in mental health care treatment services, the repeal of the sunset of the provider tax, public health measures like increasing the age at which individuals may purchase tobacco and nicotine-containing products, and many more.

The Reach Out and Read program would receive more than $100,000 in the next two years under the education funding omnibus under consideration in the House of Representatives. The program aims to use patient visits to physicians to promote early literacy and reading by providing children’s books to families. MNAAP members Nathan Chomilo, MD, FAAP, and Gigi Chawla, MD, FAAP, testified in support of the investment during the bill’s committee stops earlier in the legislative session. Governor Walz noted Dr. Chomilo’s leadership in supporting the program during his State of the State speech on April 3.

This is a summary only. To receive full legislative updates on a biweekly basis, you must be a member of MNAAP. The emails provide additional details about legislative issues that are not posted on our website and are for members only.

March 11, 2019

MNAAP President-elect Sheldon Berkowitz, MD, FAAP, spoke at a House hearing on March 8 in support of a bill to fund education efforts about the health benefits of immunizations in communities with low rates of vaccination. The bill would target such efforts at both geographic areas with lower immunization rates, as well as for racial and ethnic communities with lower rates. The bill cleared the House HHS Policy Committee and was referred to the HHS Finance Committee.

Tobacco and nicotine control efforts at the Capitol took important steps in recent weeks. The most prominent effort – bipartisan legislation to raise the age at which individuals can purchase products containing tobacco and nicotine from 18 to 21 years of age – cleared its second committee stop in the House and its first in the Senate in recent weeks. Bills to extend the state’s clean indoor air protections to many other public spaces and provide state funding for tobacco and nicotine cessation services also advanced.

This is a summary only. To receive full legislative updates on a biweekly basis, you must be a member of MNAAP. The emails provide additional details about legislative issues that are not posted on our website and are for members only.

March 7, 2019

A bill to promote the benefits of immunization will be heard in the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee on Friday, March 8.

Please take 1 minute to contact your House member and urge them to support this effort to increase immunization rates. Our voice needs to be louder than those contacting legislators with anti-vaccine rhetoric.

In short, HF 1182 would provide funding to the Minnesota Department of Health and community-based organizations to promote the benefits of immunization for those communities most at risk. The education efforts would be focused upon geographic areas or populations experiencing or at risk of experiencing an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease.

Talking points:
  • Vaccines prevent serious illness and save lives. Yet misinformation about vaccines is all too common, leading many parents to opt out of vaccines and put children and others at risk.
  • States with more permissive vaccination laws, such as Minnesota, are at increased risk for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease.
  • Data from the Minnesota Department of Health shows that several communities and schools have high rates of non-medical exemptions. In Wadena County, for example, 13 percent of Kindergartners are entering school without required vaccinations.
  • Targeted education is needed to counter myths and falsehoods about vaccination, especially in communities with high rates of non-medical exemptions.

Please take 1 minute to contact your House member and urge him or her to support HF 1182. 

1. Enter your home address to find your MN House member: https://www.gis.leg.mn/iMaps/districts/

2. Send him or her a brief email using the language above. Feel free to personalize or modify. Copy debilzan@mnaap.org so we can track outreach.

Another option is a quick call saying, “I’m a constituent in your district and pediatrician calling to convey my support for HF 1182, a bill to help provide education to communities with low vaccination rates.”

 

 

February 25, 2019

Two important bills related to vaccines were introduced in recent days. One, a proposal authored by Sen. Chris Eaton (DFL – Brooklyn Center), would allow exemptions from immunizations required for school for medical contraindication only. In the House, Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL – Golden Valley) submitted a bill to provide culturally appropriate education on the benefits of immunizations in communities with low vaccination rates.

Past MNAAP President Marilyn Peitso, MD, FAAP, testified in support of an effort to ban the use of so-called “conversion therapy.” The therapy, widely condemned by pediatricians, researchers, mental health practitioners, and others as a dangerous practice that can leave devastating impacts, particularly for youth, would be prohibited for minors under the legislation. The bill would also prohibit reimbursement for the therapy under Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare.

This is a summary only. To receive full legislative updates on a biweekly basis, you must be a member of MNAAP. The emails provide additional details about legislative issues that are not posted on our website and are for members only.

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