Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) lobbyist Dave Renner, CAE, shares a preview of the 2023 Minnesota legislative session and highlights the MAFP’s legislative priorities and engagement opportunities.
The 2023 Minnesota Legislature reconvenes for its ninety-third session on January 2, 2023. This is a budget year, with a historically large surplus; over 28% of the members are new to the legislature; and there is a Democratic majority in both bodies.
Large Budget Surplus
The biggest job for the legislature will be adopting a two-year, balanced budget for the state. This year, they will start that work with a projected surplus of $17.6 billion. The projected total state budget for the next two years is just under $54 billion. While the large surplus should avoid any discussions of budget cuts, the requests for spending from the many organizations that would like to have a portion of that spending (including the MAFP) far exceeds the size of the surplus.
Lots of New Faces
Fifty-seven of the 201 legislators are serving for the first time; another 13 will be “new” to this session (meaning they have formally served in one body or the other). Included in those “new” members are two physicians who will be joining the Minnesota Senate. MAFP member, and former House representative, Alice Mann, MD, MPH (DFL-Edina), is the new senator from Senate District 50, representing parts of Bloomington and Edina. Kelly Morrison, MD (DFL-Deephaven), an OB-GYN and former House representative, is the new senator from Senate District 45, representing the Lake Minnetonka area. They join Matt Klein, MD (DFL-Mendota Heights), the senator from Senate District 53, representing West St. Paul, Inver Grove Heights, Mendota Heights and South St. Paul.
Both the House and Senate will be controlled by Democrats this session. The House retained control with a 70-64 majority. The Senate changed from Republican to Democratic control with a very narrow 34-33 majority. Chairs of the health care committees will be Representative Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) and Senator Melissa Wicklund (DFL-Bloomington).
MAFP Legislative Priorities
The MAFP Legislative Committee has recommended three priorities that the MAFP will provide a leadership role in championing for the 2023 session, with many other issues that the MAFP will also support and work to influence.
- The top priority remains gathering better data on how health care is paid for in Minnesota and increasing investment in primary care. If we are to be successful in providing services that will improve health status and reduce costs, we need a stronger investment in primary care. A way to get there is to ensure that the state’s All-Payer Claims Database (APCD) is collecting the right data on how health care is paid by ensuring that non-claims-based payments, like quality payments, infrastructure investments, care coordination and other patient support services, are collected by the state.
- A second priority is to increase the investment in growing and training the primary care workforce. The state needs additional rural residency training slots and an increase in loan forgiveness programs to encourage future physicians to practice in rural and underserved areas.
- The third priority is to prohibit insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) from forcing a patient to switch from a medication that is working during the contract year. Many patients, especially those with chronic conditions, will pick their insurer because they cover the medication they need. But nothing in state law stops that insurer from switching its drug coverage during the contract year.
In addition to the above priorities, the MAFP intends to continue its support for sensible firearm laws to address the public health crisis of firearm injury and death. Most likely, bills will include universal criminal background checks for all firearm sales and adoption of the “red flag” law that allows law enforcement to intervene if a person is known to be a danger to themself or others.
The MAFP will also support legislation to ensure patients have access to reproductive health care services and paid family leave and require coverage by public and private payers for the collaborative care codes needed to improve access to mental health care in primary care settings.
The 2023 Minnesota Legislative Session is expected to be a very active session, as the DFL majorities try to work together to adopt what they believe are important priorities that have stalled over the last few years. The MAFP intends to closely follow their work.
Get Involved in MAFP’s Legislative Advocacy
Our advocacy efforts are most successful when members are engaged.
Here’s how you can help this legislative session:
- We’ll be sharing legislative updates throughout session via this blog and across our social media channels. Click the “Follow” button on the blog to sign up to receive email notifications of new posts.
- Respond to calls to action when asked to contact your legislators.
- Participate in the MAFP’s Legislative Lunch plus the Minnesota Medical Association’s Physicians’ Day at the Capitol on February 8, 2023. This will include opportunities for you to meet with legislators.
- Reach out to Jami Burbidge, MAM, MAFP’s Chief Operation Officer, for additional ways to get plugged into the MAFP’s advocacy work.