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Conferees agree on health and human services policy package

— UPDATED with late action

The contents of a comprehensive bill addressing medical assistance, health insurance, mental health, pharmacies, ambulance service personnel, and emergency medical responders awaits gubernatorial action.

The report was agreed to by the health and human services policy conference committee. Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) and Sen. Melissa Wiklund (DFL-Bloomington) sponsor HF4571/SF4699*. It was included in the all-encompassing HF5247 passed by both bodies late Sunday.

Liebling said the agreement would ensure insurance providers cover abortions and amino acid-based infant formula, that a county-administered rural medical assistance model and detailed plan are developed, and that organic composting of human dead bodies at licensed facilities is allowed.

“I am very excited about this bill,” she said.

Financially, the bill would spend $28.2 million from the General Fund in fiscal year 2025; however, $23.89 million is reappropriated from fiscal year 2024 allocations, for a net of $4.29 million. It also calls for nearly an additional $4.78 million in 2026-27 biennial spending.

[MORE: View the spreadsheet]

Rep. Robert Bierman (DFL-Apple Valley), vice chair of the House Health Finance and Policy Committee, said his “top hit” list of the agreement is:

  • insurance prior authorization reform;
  • Medicaid and Medicare coverage of prosthetic and orthotic devices;
  • HMO conversion provisions;
  • school-linked mental health services grants;
  • Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servercio funding for certified community behavioral health clinics;
  • evaluation of the state’s health care needs and capacity; and
  • value-based purchasing of cell or gene therapy treatments for rare disease treatment.

Rep. Liz Reyer (DFL-Eagan) added her favorite provisions to the list:

  • rapid whole genome sequencing insurance coverage for anyone under age 21;
  • provisions to help rural and independent pharmacies remain open;
  • accessible prescription drug container labels; and
  • limiting state-paid hospital, medical, and dental benefits to non-profit health maintenance organizations.

Sen. Robert Kupec (DFL-Moorhead) joined the hit list approach and added:

  • pharmacy provision of vaccines and HIV drugs;
  • mandatory public hearings when hospitals intend to close or curtail services; and
  • mental health funding.


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