Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Health budget bill passes off House Floor

Rep. Tina Liebling presents the health and human services supplemental budget bill on the House Floor May 9. (Photo by Andrew VonBank)
Rep. Tina Liebling presents the health and human services supplemental budget bill on the House Floor May 9. (Photo by Andrew VonBank)

Addressing a wide range of provisions from prior authorizations to mental health matters; from abortion and gender-affirming care to amino acid-based elemental formula and whole genome sequencing are goals of the health and human services supplemental budget bill.

Passed 68-59, as amended, by the House Thursday, HF4571/SF4699* now heads back to the Senate where it was passed 34-31 May 3. A conference committee is expected to work out the differences.

“My theme for this bill? Tiny target, bit impact,” said Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester), who sponsors the bill with Sen. Melissa Wiklund (DFL-Bloomington).

The supplemental budget target agreement called for $9.5 million in spending, but the bill would appropriate $43 million due to reappropriations and underutilized budget sources.

Among its provisions the bill would require health insurance companies to cover gender-affirming care, abortions, orthotic and prosthetic devices and wigs after cancer treatment. It would also prohibit health care providers from denying medically necessary services to patients because of outstanding medical debt owed the provider.

Minnesota House debate on SF4699, the health supplemental budget bill 5/9/24

One of the bigger topics of discussion on the House Floor was prior authorizations whereby health insurers require doctors and other health care providers to get approval for services before providing care.

An amendment from Rep. Joe Schomacker (R-Luverne), which was unsuccessful, would have required Minnesota Management and Budget and Department of Human Services budgets to bear excess costs for making it easier to obtain prior authorizations, as the bill would do.

A fiscal analysis indicates the state could not quantify the provisions, but costs would indeed exist, said Rep. Anne Neu Brindley (R-North Branch). “This is going to be a huge problem and frankly it’s an irresponsible way to govern.”

Rep. Kristin Bahner (DFL-Maple Grove) sees the matter differently. The bill, she said, would not eliminate prior authorization mechanisms, but rather put barriers in place if the prior authorization is delaying care for no discernable reasons.

“If we are asking providers to spend on average 13 hours a week filing prior authorizations, that is time clinicians are not in the room with a patient,” Bahner added. “We’re not saying you can’t do prior authorizations for chronic conditions. What we are saying is if a patient gets approved through prior authorization who has a chronic condition, they don’t have to jump through the same hoop year after year after year after year.”

Rep. Danny Nadeau (R-Rogers) offered an amendment that was adopted to require the Department of Human Services to post on its website the number of prior authorization requests it did not approve for its health insurance products, and the reason for the denial, as is currently required of private sector providers.

Numerous other amendments were offered by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Those adopted would:

“Every patient should be able to have a loved one by their side to navigate health care decisions in joyful moments, in trauma, in tragedy, and the list can go on,” said Rep. Natalie Zeleznikar (R-Fredenberg Township).

Unsuccessfully offered amendments would have:

  • changed “must” to “may” in statute that allows the health commissioner to fine hospitals $20,000 for curtailing operations, relocating services, or ceasing certain services without public notification;
  • eliminated a proposed $100,000 annual registration fee for insulin manufacturers; and
  • allowed safety devices at fire stations so a parent could anonymously surrender a newborn infant.

Related Articles

Priority Dailies

House closes 2024 session in chaotic fashion, trading bonding for budget boosts
(House Photography file photo) It was a session of modest ambitions. After 2023 produced a record $72 billion in biennial funding, Minnesota’s legislative leaders were dampening expectations for anything ...
Ways and Means Committee OKs proposed $512 million supplemental budget on party-line vote
(House Photography file photo) Meeting more needs or fiscal irresponsibility is one way to sum up the differences among the two parties on a supplemental spending package a year after a $72 billion state budg...

Minnesota House on Twitter