Legislative Update – February 2020

Buck McAlpin, Legislative Consultant

The 2020 Minnesota Legislative Session gaveled in on Tuesday the 11th of February at noon. This is year two of the legislatures biannual budget process. Last year they did the State’s large budget bill, and this session the primary focus will be agreeing to and approving a bonding bill for the State.

Although large budget bills are not compiled like the first year of the session, it’s not un-common for the legislature to pass a “supplemental” budget. The House DFL majority leadership just released what they consider their session priorities: Early childhood learning, insulin affordability, paid family and medical leave, gun violence prevention and bonding

The Senate majority leadership also released their 2020 priorities which include eliminating the state partial tax on Social Security benefits, reducing violent crime and reforming the States Department of Human Services are some of the top priorities for the 2020 legislative session.

Also, the House Majority DFL and the Senate Minority DFL will most likely have legislation to legalize adult use Marijuana. The DFL House and Senate spent the interim traveling around the state holding “listening Sessions” getting feedback from folks who support and oppose legalization. The Senate Republicans have made it clear they have no intentions of supporting legalization.

Also, around the Capitol conversations have gained traction again around the surprise billing issue. I have been invited by a group of legislators to sit down and discuss the issue next week.

When we talk about surprise billing, we also need to consider the issue of under insured and high deductible health plans Minnesotans have. One of the issues around the Capitol last legislative session focused on Air Ambulance Surprise Claims. In my discussion with legislators I remind them that patients receive those type of bills because of their insurance coverage.

With that in mind on behalf of our Association and the MN Ambulance Association I worked with the Attorney/Revisors at the legislature to draft a piece of legislation.

The legislation endorsed by both Associations would provide up-front coverage for EMTALA required services. Which would include Emergency room Care and all Emergency Ambulance transports. So basically, the health plans and not the health care provider would now be responsible to collect the deductible.

This proposal has 4 committees to go through in the legislature and may be a tough bill to get accomplished in the short 12-week 2020 session this year. Our goal will be to have it heard and continue to progress it as rapidly as possible.

I will provide more details and legislative bill numbers on this bill and others as the session progresses.