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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michelle (Shelly) Christensen (DFL)

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Legislative Update - May 23, 2019

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Dear Neighbors,
Minnesota has proven that a divided government can still come together to produce a compromise that benefits our state.
With some work still to be finalized, we’ve already accomplished some amazing things through our bipartisan budget agreement. We’ve secured solid funding for our schools, preserved health care for over one million Minnesotans, and provided economic security for the middle class. The Legislature began the process of completing our budget, but we now look to Governor Walz to name a date (likely soon) to finish the process of passing consensus House and Senate budget legislation.
You can read more about out budget agreement here.
Lowering Medication Costs

In addition to the bipartisan success of compromise budget targets, we also recently passed legislation to lower the costs of medication by regulating Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM). PBMs develop and maintain lists of covered drugs (formularies) that they offer to pharmacies. Drug manufacturers give rebates to PBMs to encourage the sale of their products, incentivizing PBMs to remove less expensive drugs from their formularies, and causing drug prices to go up for Minnesotans.

PBMs change their formularies whenever they can get a higher rebate, resulting in doctors having to change patients’ prescriptions, sometimes several times a year, and often leading to more expensive medications. This legislation gives the Department of Commerce authority over their licensing, requiring PBMs to notify health carriers of conflicts of interest.

The bill is on its way to Governor Walz to be signed into law. You can read more about this legislation here.
Taking on the Opioid Epidemic
This week the House and Senate passed legislation aimed at taking on the opioid crisis in our state. The opioid epidemic is killing 115 people a day in the U.S., and was linked to the deaths of more than 400 Minnesotans in 2017. To combat this, we’re holding Big Pharma accountable and taking the fees we raised on drug manufacturers and investing in prevention services and addiction treatment. In addition to using these funds to reduce opioid deaths, we’re also reimbursing our counties for child protection costs related to families impacted by this crisis. An epidemic like this affects us all, regardless of politics, and I’m glad we were able to prioritize it this session.
You can read more about our efforts to combat the opioid epidemic here.
Protecting Our Elders
Compromise was also reached this week to protect our seniors and most vulnerable Minnesotans residing in assisted living facilities. Consumer protection reforms have been needed for these facilities for years, and this session stakeholders were able to come together with legislators on both sides of the aisle to produce measures that license these facilities, enhance the oversight capabilities of the Office of Health Facility Complaints and the Department of Health, protect residents from retaliation, and establish a task force to improve the quality of care in assisted living.
You can read more about the elder care reforms here.
Stay In Touch

Please reach out to me with your questions or comments on the legislative process at (651) 296-4244,, or like my Facebook page. I look forward to hearing from you!


Representative Shelly Christensen
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