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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Tou Xiong (DFL)

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Legislative Update - May 20, 2019

Monday, May 20, 2019

Neighbors,
 
Last night, we announced a bipartisan state budget that will deliver targeted tax cuts for middle class families, secure health care access for 1.2 million Minnesotans, and make strong investments in public education. Conference committees and work groups will continue their work with the opportunity for the public to weigh in.

I'm proud that the DFL-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate were able to come together to prove that one of the country's only two politically-split legislatures was able to forge a bipartisan compromise that will work toward affordable health care and college, strong public schools, safe communities, and economic security for individuals and families.

Health Care 
Last week the House made a bipartisan agreement to bring down the cost of prescription drugs. The legislation will regulate and require transparency from little-known but powerful actors in the healthcare industry, called Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or PBMs. 

PBMs are a middle man between drug manufacturers and pharmacies, and because they get rebates from the cost of the drugs, they have an incentive to only bring forward the highest-price drugs. PBMs were created to negotiate lower prices, but because of a lack of transparency (all their transactions are "trade secrets"), they've been allowed to operate in their own financial interest, preventing pharmacies from offering lower-cost drugs, taking home giant profits, and leaving patients with the bill. 

All Minnesotans deserve the highest standard of healthcare, and the drugs that are the best for them, at an affordable price. This bill will bring transparency and accountability to our healthcare system and help all Minnesotans afford the healthcare they need to stay healthy. 

EMS 
Legislation to allow emergency medical technicians to provide basic follow up care for patients after emergency room visits passed overwhelmingly in the House this week. Many who experience an ER visit often don’t know what to expect with post hospital care, resulting in another ambulance call or trip to the ER. This bill will help ensure Minnesotans are safe upon returning home, and can avoid unnecessary hospital and ambulance bills. This common sense measure was a bipartisan effort from the beginning.

Protecting Seniors
Last week, we approved a package of strong reforms protecting seniors against abuse, neglect, assault, and other maltreatment in Minnesota assisted living facilities. The House and Senate were able to reconcile differences to finalize a bill to license assisted-living facilities and require them to maintain standards of care. We were the only state in the nation not to license these facilities, and this bill is long overdue. Our seniors deserve the care they need to live with dignity and safety. Read more here.

Please feel free to reach out and let me know how I can better serve you and our community! 

Sincerely,

Rep. Tou.Xiong