2017 Legislative Session in its Final Week…PATF Provisions Included in HHS Bill
Friday, May 19, 2017
PATF Lobbyist Buck Humphrey reports that the Minnesota legislature is working feverishly to come to a compromise on State budget targets. This includes the Minnesota House and Senate HHS Conference Committee Omnibus bill the legislature will pass on each floor at the end of budget negotiations and send to Gov. Dayton for signature and ultimately, enactment. A week ago, both the Republican-controlled House and Senate passed SF800, the HHS Omnibus finance bill. As with all state government finance funding bills passed by the legislature to date, the HHS Republican budget bill was vetoed by Gov. Dayton.
Technically, this means the legislature has to start over on the various finance bills. However, multiple bills are still on the House and Senate floors that could/will be used as vehicles to pass the omnibus finance bills once the legislative leadership reaches agreement with the governor. A worst-case scenario would be no agreement between the legislature and governor by the constitutionally mandated legislative adjournment date of midnight on Monday, May 22. If they can’t get an agreement, the governor would then need to call a Special Session of the legislature, presumably sometime in June, to avert a July 1 government shutdown.
The legislature and Dayton administration will work through the weekend to hopefully come to a compromise on how to fund the government and move to adjournment. Stay tuned…
Humphrey reports that the HHS Omnibus bill includes the opioid bottle warning label mandate language. Simultaneously, the opioid labeling legislation is also being taken up on the floor of the House and Senate to ensure passage. The governor has said he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk. The Senate passed the revised language that is acceptable to the Minnesota pharmacy community. The House is set to take up the Senate’s bill at any time, most likely Friday or over the weekend.
Other provisions of note include the CMS pharmacists reimbursement compliance (increase) language, language for the reimbursement of injectables through a PBM, opioid abuse reduction grants and the 4-day maximum opiate prescription mandate in the vetoed, bill. Both legislative and administrative leadership have not indicated that these provisions will not survive final negotiations. Additionally, it is confirmed that the Senate will take up Biosimilars language included in SF1184 and HF712 Friday or this weekend, already adopted by the House. When this legislative language is enacted, it will put Minnesota in compliance with similar laws across the U.S.
Lastly, the House HHS Finance Committee had an informational hearing on May 24 on HF747. The bill would make changes to the Prior Authorization (PA) system that would ban Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) from taking drugs off a plan sponsored/contracted formulary before the benefit contract expires. Currently, PBMs can and do take drugs off their formularies, mid-contract, at any time. Rep. Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake), who has had a long history of issues with PBMs and obtaining and maintaining his MS medication regimen, introduced the legislation and passionately testified in support of the PA and PBM reforms. The Minnesota Medical Association, Mental Health Association of Minnesota, Independent Physicians Association and Academy of Family Physicians all testified in support of the PA reform legislation. Representatives from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Express Scripts, Health Partners and Prime Therapeutics all testified in opposition to the bill. This issue is certain to be taken up next year.