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Committee OK’s omnibus health bill that aims to expand coverage, reduce health care costs

From abortion to insurance, expanding access to health care is a theme of this omnibus bill.

On an 11-7 vote, the House Health Finance and Policy Committee approved HF2930 Thursday after adopting a delete-all amendment. The bill’s next stop is the House Ways and Means Committee.

Sponsored by Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester), the omnibus health finance and policy bill would lower the new spending from $791.15 million to $769.99 million over the 2024-25 biennium.

The bill, in part, would also:

  • require medical assistance to cover medically necessary abortions;
  • allow a designated support person for reproductive health care appointments;
  • repeal laws limiting abortion access;
  • add a “public option” to MinnesotaCare;
  • limit-enrollee cost-sharing for prescription drugs;
  • establish a direct payment system for MinnesotaCare and medical assistance; and
  • eliminate deductibles, co-payments, and coinsurance for medical assistance.

[MORE: List of bills included in the omnibus, View the spreadsheet]

Rep. Anne Neu Brindley (R-North Branch) believes the bill would “completely dismantle and destroy health care in Minnesota.” Her many concerns include the lack of fiscal notes for numerous provisions and the committee, as a result, not knowing the full financial impact of its actions.

But others appreciate the bill, including Rep. Andy Smith (DFL-Rochester) who believes a provision about the 988 suicide lifeline will save lives. He’s also excited about an analysis that would be done of the costs and benefits of universal health care.

Amendments adopted

Rep. Liz Reyer (DFL-Eagan) successfully offered numerous amendments. One would make housing support units available for seven metro counties instead of four; another would conform a dentist licensing provision.

Another adopted amendment came from Rep. Peter Fischer (DFL-Maplewood) that added portions of five additional bills – HF1198, HF1446, HF1683, HF2058 and HF2553 – to the omnibus package.

Rep. Joe Schomacker (R-Luverne) wanted to add a duplicative reporting requirement for the 988 system and a provision allowing the department to grant waivers. His amendment was also adopted.

Failed amendments

Failing on an 11-7 vote, was an amendment offered Rep. Danny Nadeau (R-Rogers) that would have applied prompt payment statutes currently in place for managed care organizations, or insurance companies, to the state when it pays providers directly under the fee-for-service pay model.

“Providers need to know what’s coming in. You can’t run a hospital out of thin air,” said Rep. Jeff Backer (R-Browns Valley).

We can work with the department to streamline processes, but right now, all this amendment does is apply an unnecessary statute to fee-for-service, Liebling said.

Also failing 11-7 was a Neu Brindley amendment to expand the provision that allow at least one designated support person for reproductive health care services to apply beyond pregnant people.

Liebling called it “ridiculously unworkable in its form” due to stipulations such as prohibitions of vaccine requirements for a designated support person.

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