members testify at HHS Finance Committee
Last week, MHA members
testified before the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee on the
topic of narrow insurance networks in Minnesota. They shared patient concerns
about accessing health care locally and maintaining existing relationships with
health care providers in rural parts of Minnesota.
Members present included Sharon Williams, vice president, finance, Avera
Marshall Regional Medical Center; Susan Grafstrom, development coordinator,
LifeCare Medical Center, Roseau; Brad Burris, CEO, Pipestone County Medical
Center; Richard Ash, CEO, United Hospital District, Blue Earth; and Dr. Aaron
Johnson, chief of staff, United Hospital District, Blue Earth.
Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems want to help ensure that patients
maintain access to high-quality health care close to home. Thank you to our
members for speaking to the committee! return to top
subsidy bill moving forward; other amendments added
Last week at the state Capitol, the bill to provide relief to
Minnesotans in the individual insurance market, Senate File 1 (Hoppe – GOP -
Chaska), passed the House floor. The House added an amendment to allow
insurance companies to sell health plan products that do not contain all of the
state and federal mandated benefits (e.g. maternity, mental health,
prescription drug coverage), as long as they sell at least one product that
does contain all of the mandated benefits in this market. MHA is reviewing this
amendment, but several members have expressed concerns about this language. The
conference committee will begin meeting to work out the difference between the
House and Senate version of the legislation.
Mary Krinkie, MHA’s vice president of government relations, testified before
the House Health and Human Service Finance Committee at an informational
hearing on the Department of Human Services’ Direct Care and Treatment
programs. Krinkie provided MHA perspective on issues MHA members face related
to timely discharge and community-based placement options for mental health
patients. Krinkie reviewed MHA’s study on potentially avoidable mental health bed days
with the committee.
Today, Gov. Mark Dayton delivers his State of the State address. On Tuesday,
the governor will release his proposed budget for the 2018-19 biennium.
With questions, contact Mary Krinkie, vice president of government relations, MHA,
651-659-1465, or Kristin Loncorich, director of state
government relations, MHA, 651-603-3526.
Session bill tracker
For a complete list of 2017 legislative bills MHA is tracking, visit the MHA Member Center. For assistance accessing the
Member Center, contact Emily Lowther, communications manager, MHA,
651-603-3495. return to top
Trump issues executive order on ACA
Shortly after being sworn in, President Trump demonstrated his
commitment to addressing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by signing an executive
order designed to “ease the burden” of the health law. Per White House press
secretary Sean Spicer, the executive order “directs the departments and
agencies to ease the burden of Obamacare as we transition to repeal and replace.”
However, it is unclear what actions the six-section order directs agencies to
take. It is possible that the order could be used to end the enforcement of the
ACA’s individual mandate or to repeal certain taxes established by the bill,
including those on insurers and drug manufacturers.
On Jan. 18, members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP)
Committee questioned Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), President Trump’s nominee for
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, about the future of ACA
repeal and replacement. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) was among the committee Democrats
who expressed concern that repealing the ACA could reduce health insurance
coverage and create more instability in the insurance market. Sen. Lisa
Murkowski (R-AK) expressed support for the administration to reduce the law’s
regulatory burden for rural hospitals.
During the confirmation hearing, Price said the Center for Medicare and
Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center) “has great promise and possibility,”
but added, “I adamantly oppose the mandatory nature with which it has
approached problems.” Price has expressed strong opposition to the Innovation
Center’s Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement model.
Price will appear before the Senate Finance Committee, which will vote on
whether to confirm the nominee, on Jan. 24.
MHA will continue to provide Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and
Minnesota’s House delegation with information about how Minnesota has been
impacted by the ACA, as well as the potential effects of repeal and replace
proposals as they are released.
With questions, contact Briana Nord Parish, policy analyst, MHA,
651-603-3498, or Ben Peltier, vice president of legal and
federal affairs, MHA, 651-603-3513. return to top
members encouraged to attend AHA annual meeting May 7-10 in Washington, D.C.
MHA will coordinate visits with the Minnesota congressional
After a period of relative stability in federal health policy, the election of
2016 has led to a major realignment of leadership in health care
policy. This spring, Congress will consider a variety of changes in health
care, including the future of the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid expansion,
insurance regulation and Medicare reforms. MHA members’ help is needed to
deliver a unified message on these important health care issues during the
American Hospital Association (AHA) annual meeting in Washington, D.C., May
AHA will host a strong line-up of speakers who will address the most immediate
and long-term issues facing hospitals and health systems. With approximately
1,500 attendees in attendance, this is a unique opportunity to network with
peers from across the country. In addition, MHA staff will schedule
congressional office visits and help prepare MHA members for those visits
during a special briefing.
To register for the meeting, visit the AHA website. About a week prior to the annual
meeting, MHA will send participants additional information on special
For more information, contact Ben Peltier, vice president of legal and
federal affairs, MHA, 651-603-3513. return to top
for annual ICSI Colloquium on Health Care Transformation
Registration is available for the Institute for
Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI) Annual Colloquium on Health Care
Transformation, which will take place May 8-10 at the Minneapolis Marriott
The event will examine the new and evolving teams and teamwork needed, both
inside of health care and reaching outward, to meet the coming shift to
value-based payment systems and achieve the Triple Aim. Program and
registration information can be found on the ICSI website. With questions, contact Lisa Carlson,
ICSI. return to top