The first half of the 2019 legislative session is over and it’s been an honor to hear from residents in our communities while serving at the State Capitol.
Minnesotans want affordable health care, a quality education for their kids, clean water and air, and safe roads to drive on. And we want those same things for our friends and neighbors. That’s one of the things I love about our community: we genuinely care about each other. Whether Republican, Democrat or Independent, we are all proud of our community and want it to thrive.
As a physician, I have seen the difference that quality, affordable healthcare can make in the lives of my patients. As a state representative, I am committed to ensuring that Minnesotans have access to the quality, affordable healthcare that they need. This is a top issue for residents of our community, and I’m sponsoring several legislative proposals that aim to address it. Eighty percent of the health care related bills I have authored in the House have Republican co-authors. Health care shouldn’t be a partisan issue. I am working to build coalitions with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle because health care impacts families in our district and all over the state.
Understanding why drug prices are so high may help solve the puzzle of why health care is so expensive. My Drug Price Transparency Act asks drug manufacturers to explain why some new drugs are so expensive, and why the price of older drugs sometimes rises so precipitously. Creating more transparency can be an important step toward raising awareness of the role that drug prices play in the cost of health care, and in potentially driving those costs down. Minnesotans should be able to afford the medications they need in order to thrive.
One particularly heartbreaking story that illustrates the urgency of this issue is that of Alec Smith, a 26-year-old Minnesotan with diabetes who died when he was forced to ration the insulin that he needed to live. He was unable to afford the suddenly exorbitantly high price of insulin and tried to get by on less than he needed. He died of acute diabetic ketoacidosis, a direct result of insufficient insulin. Following Alec’s death in 2017, his parents Nicole and James courageously began telling their story in hopes of preventing the same tragedy from happening to anyone else.
Nicole and James are inspiring me and my colleagues to act. Never again should anyone die in Minnesota because they cannot afford the insulin they need to survive. That’s why I am supporting a bill named in Alec’s honor to make insulin accessible to anyone who needs it in an emergency. It’s the right thing to do and it will save lives.
As a physician and a proud Minnesotan, I’m committed to working to address the complex health care challenges that we face. It will take all of us coming together to take care of ourselves and each other to find solutions. We can, and we must do better for the people of our great state.
Representative Kelly Morrison represents House District 33B, which includes the cities of Deephaven, Shorewood, Tonka Bay, Minnetonka Beach, Mound, Chanhassen, Excelsior, Spring Park, and Greenwood. Rep. Morrison encourages her constituents to share input and ideas with her at the Capitol anytime at 651-296-4315 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.