MNAAP Policy Priorities: Recap of 2013


By Anne Edwards, MD, FAAP, chair of MNAAP’s policy committee and chair of pediatrics at Park Nicollet

At the end of each session, I am reminded that we as children’s advocates participate in a marathon, not a sprint. MNAAP will continue to move forward, advocating on behalf of children to continue to move key issues forward in the coming year.

Many thanks to Eric Dick, MNAAP lobbyist, for his long hours of dedication. And many thanks to all of you who participated as child advocates during the session…look for more opportunities to engage in the coming months.

Below is a summary of MNAAP’s policy priorities. As always, please let me know if you have any comments/questions at

Health and Human Services (HHS) Budget Signed into Law

Below are some of the more notable elements of the funding package:

– Restores funding to the Medical Education and Research Cost (MERC) program to levels that existed prior to the deep cuts of 2011.

– Increases funding for the State Health Improvement Programs (SHIP) Appropriates $300,000 each year for grants to train primary care clinicians to provide substance abuse brief intervention and referral to treatment.

– Requires many state-regulated large group health plans to cover speech, occupational, physical and behavioral therapy for autism-spectrum disorders, including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), up to age 18.

– Improves coverage for those earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level by removing the $10,000 cap on inpatient hospital coverage, the $1,000 co-pay requirement for hospital coverage, the requirement to be uninsured for four months before qualifying for MinnesotaCare, and modifying the sliding scale premium requirements.

– Requires all hospitals or birthing centers to provide screening for critical congenital heart disease prior to discharge Requires a physician’s directive for an infant to be placed on his or her stomach for sleep when under the care of a licensed child care worker.

Medicaid Expansion Signed into Law

The law expands access to Medicaid for tens of thousands of low income Minnesotans. The federal government will pick up 100 percent of coverage costs for childless adults earning less than $15,414 annually for the first three years, and in the future will fund 90 percent of those costs.


Despite having passed the full House and all of the committee stops in the Senate, legislation to significantly strengthen Minnesota’s statutes regarding bullying did not pass but is expected to be on the table again in 2014.


Newborn Screening Changes Rejected by House
A conference committee of House and Senate members considering a package of proposals related to data practices rejected an effort to protect newborn screening test results from destruction. Under current law, newborn screening test results will be destroyed two years after collection, beginning in November 2013. The final bill does include a provision that instructs MDH to report to the Legislature in early 2014 on a comprehensive and sustainable plan for the long-term storage of newborn screening test results.

MinneMinds Financing Package Included in E-12 Bill
The “MinneMinds” proposal will provide funding for 3- and 4-year-olds from low-incom families to attend high quality early education programs. Scholarships will be for $3000-$5000 per child based on the ParentAware rating of the early childhood center. Scholarships will be administered in each region with scholarship awards available in September 2013. Watch for more details at


– The tax on a pack of cigarettes rose from $1.23 per pack to $2.83. It’s been calculated that the increase will lead to 47,700 fewer youth from becoming addicted adults, and will lead 36,000 adults to quit.

– Landmark legislation to allow for same-sex marriage became law in Minnesota on May 14. MNAAP was a supporter of the effort to extend marriage equality and a member of the “Minnesotans United for all Families” coalition.

The legislature reconvenes Tuesday, February 25, 2013.

Annual Sponsors

Children's Minnesota
Gillette Children's
Hennepin Healthcare
University of Minnesota Health
Essentia Health
Mayo Clinic
Shriners Healthcare for Children-Twin Cities