For more information contact: Mike Molzahn 651-296-1774
SAINT PAUL, MN – Today, the Health and Human Services Finance Committee held an informational hearing on HF 747, the prescription drug prior authorization bill. The bill, authored by Republican Rep. Rod Hamilton (Mountain Lake) was originally denied a hearing by Commerce Chair Joe Hoppe (R-Chaska). After Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) agreed to withdraw a floor amendment that would have forced a tough vote on the bill for Republicans, Rep. Hamilton was granted today’s informal hearing.
“This bill is a common sense, bipartisan effort to make sure Minnesotans can get the prescription drug coverage they expect,” remarked Rep. Liebling. “Rep. Hamilton and many other Minnesotans have had their insurance company suddenly deny coverage for essential medications, with huge impacts to their health.”
Prescription coverage is usually contracted out to a Pharmacy Benefit Manager, such as Express Scripts or Prime Therapeutics, who testified against the bill. These for-profit companies earn billions of dollars per year.
Rep. Hamilton’s bill requires that health plans tell consumers which drugs are covered under an insurance plan before they choose the plan, and that they continue a previously authorized drug for the duration of an enrollee’s contract. Rep. Hamilton’s insurer stopped covering a drug vital to treatment of his Multiple Sclerosis and as a result experienced significant negative health effects, including limiting his ability to walk.
“I’m grateful that the House finally gave this bill a committee hearing,” continued Liebling. “However, that’s not enough. These modest consumer protections were included in the Senate’s health and human services budget and should be included in any final compromise bill. Minnesotans expect their legislators to put their interests before the profits of corporations—especially when it comes to their health.”
Rep. Liebling is the DFL Lead on the House Committee on Health and Human Services Reform. Rep. Liebling can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 651-296-7173.