MAFP legislative representative Dave Renner, CAE, provides an update on two MAFP legislative priorities—the licensing of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and clarifying that direct primary care arrangements are not insurance. Both recently passed the Minnesota Senate floor, unanimously (67-0).
Pharmacy Benefit Managers Licensure
The first bill, SF 278, authored by MAFP member Senator Scott Jensen (R-Chaska), requires all pharmacy benefit managers operating in Minnesota to be licensed by the Department of Commerce. More importantly, the bill requires annual reports on the aggregate amount PMBs pay for medications, pay to pharmacists and receive in rebates from drug companies. The bill also prohibits PBMs from imposing gag clauses on pharmacies and ensures that patients are provided the least expensive drugs available to them.
This bill is part of the bigger issue of price transparency and where the money flows in pharmaceutical pricing.
The House version of the licensure bill is authored by MAFP member Representative Alice Mann (DFL – Lakeville). The language of the bill has been amended into the Minnesota House Health and Human Services finance omnibus bill that passed out of committee late last week.
The fact that both bills—in the Senate and in the House—are moving with strong bipartisan support is a good indication that this has a very good chance of passing into law this year.
Direct Primary Care
Bill SF 277, authored by Senator Scott Jensen (R-Chaska), clearly states that direct primary care arrangements are NOT defined as insurance for the purposes of state law. This removes a barrier that has limited practices from investing in the idea.
The DPC model allows a patient to pay a set fee to have access to a physician for all primary and preventative care. Senate leaders have promoted this model as a way to strengthen the patient-physician relationship and provide an alternative to basic insurance products.
The final fate of this bill is uncertain. The House bill is authored by Representative Nick Zerwas (R-Elk River) and has not received a hearing. This could be an issue that is part of any end of session negotiations.