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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 2021 session runs from Jan. 5 to May 17.

January 5, 2020

With the 2020 legislative session beginning on Feb. 11, 2020, the MNAAP took the next steps to pursue our legislative agenda when the Board of Directors selected the chapter’s 2020 legislative priorities. The chapter will focus on increasing immunization rates and enacting common-sense provisions to reduce firearm violence. The two priorities were identified through a MNAAP policy roundtable discussion with members after reviewing the results of the all-member survey, and were affirmed by the MNAAP Board of Directors.

Recognizing the significant risk for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease, the MNAAP has long argued that Minnesota’s vaccine requirement for school-aged children – among the weakest in the country – needs reform. Minnesota was the scene of a major measles outbreak in 2017, and even larger outbreaks occurred earlier this year in New York and elsewhere. Many states – California, New York, and Maine notably – have strengthened their childhood immunization requirements in the wake of these threats to public health, and Minnesota would be wise to follow their lead.

Make no mistake, fixing Minnesota’s weak vaccine law will be an uphill battle given the influence of anti-vaccine activists and legislators.  The anti-vaccine community is very well organized, and they routinely fill legislators’ inboxes with dozens, even hundreds, of emails.  It will take the action of pediatricians, other physicians, health advocates, and parents from across the state voicing their support of strengthened vaccine requirements for us to be successful.

The MNAAP has once again chosen to tackle firearm violence in the upcoming session. Specifically, the chapter will partner with legislative champions and allied groups to extend background checks to all sales and transfers of firearms, including at gun shows and private sales. In addition, the MNAAP will lobby for passage of a “red flag law” to allow law enforcement to seize firearms from those individuals who may be a danger to themselves or others. Recent legislative sessions have seen chapter leaders testify in support of these common-sense proposals, and our advocacy will continue.

While increasing immunization rates and reducing firearm violence are the chapter’s identified legislative priorities, the MNAAP will be closely tracking dozens of other issues. Efforts to bar the use of conversion therapy for minors, promote health equity, and eliminate teen access to tobacco and e-cigarettes will remain on the chapter’s radar. Each legislative session always brings surprising issues that require the MNAAP’s involvement. In 2018, for example, the chapter was forced to quickly mobilize to oppose efforts to weaken safe sleep requirements in child care settings.

Be sure to mark your calendar for the 2020 Pediatricians’ Day at the Capitol set for Monday, March 23.  The MNAAP’s single biggest advocacy event, Pediatricians’ Day at the Capitol is always a terrific day of advocacy and energy.  This day is critically important to our advocacy efforts.  Visit www.mnaap.org/day-at-the-capitol/ to register and make plans to join us!


Written by Eric Dick, MNAAP lobbyist

September 1, 2019

MNAAP’s policy co-chairs, Sue Berry, MD, FAAP, and Lindsey Yock, MD, FAAP, will lead a priority discussion on Thursday, September 26 from 6-8 p.m. in the Twin Cities. The conversation will focus on identifying policy priorities for the Board to consider based on member feedback, legislative viability and other considerations.

MNAAP members are welcome to attend in person or by video/conference call. Please email  debilzan@mnaap.org for more information.

August 12, 2019

The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State recently posted several vacancies for various state boards, councils and committees. MNAAP members are encouraged to review the openings and consider applying. These vacancies offer an excellent opportunity for pediatricians to engage in advocacy.

Vacancies include:

  • Behavioral Health Planning Council: providers of Mental Health Services to the LGBTQ and/or Underserved Communities
  • Maternal and Child Health Advisory Task Force: professionals with expertise in maternal and child health services
  • Palliative Care Advisory Council: one seat available for a physician

Interested members can apply through the Secretary of State’s website here. This website also provides additional information about the scope of each panel/working group, including its charge, expected meeting schedule, other members, and more.

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.

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