Policy News

  • May 09, 2019 11:06 AM | Anonymous

    Call your lawmaker!
    Protect the Health Care Provider Tax

    Please call your State Senator and tell them "Don’t let the sun set on the health care provider tax.” Health and well-being are vital to strong and thriving Minnesota families and communities. Use one or two of the talking points below to craft your personal message, and if you feel comfortable, share your personal story about why this matters to you. Find your Senator here: https://www.gis.leg.mn/iMaps/districts/.

    Minnesotans depend on the Health Care Provider Tax.

    • Minnesotans should be able to receive the health care they need, when they need it. The health care provider tax is an essential funding source to provide affordable health care to all Minnesotans.
    • For more than 25 years, Minnesota’s health care provider tax has been the primary funding source for the Health Care Access Fund, helping Minnesotans get the health care they need, when they need it.
    • Today, 1 in 5 Minnesotans have better access to doctors, medications, and the care they need thanks to Medicaid and MinnesotaCare, programs funded by the health care provider tax.
    • Without the provider tax, Minnesota faces a $1.3 billion dollar hole in our biennial budget, and the health care of our friends and neighbors is at risk.
    • The provider tax is a Minnesota-made solution and an investment in the health of our state.
    • The health care provider tax is a time-tested, court-tested, reliable way to fund essential health care services. Now is not the time to slash services, or experiment with unvetted funding sources.

    The Senate HHS Omnibus bill passed Tuesday morning (4/30/19) gives us a glimpse of the stark future without the provider tax. Some of the projected savings in the Senate bill are questionable, but the harm they cause will be real. The Senate bill:

    • cuts dental, vision, and childcare benefits to low income working families who can’t afford to purchase those services on their own
    • cuts off Developmental Disability and Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI) waivers and PCA services to people who rely on them
    • increases cost sharing significantly for MinnesotaCare enrollees
    • arbitrarily caps the Medical Assistance growth trend, meaning inevitable cuts to children and families
    See sample call script for calling your Senator:

    My name is [name] and I live at [address]. I am calling to express my support for the provider tax and the Health Care Access Fund. [Add your personal story or a few talking points about why you support maintaining the health care provider tax]. Failing to preserve the provider tax will put at risk the health and well-being of Minnesotans. I hope Senator [X] will work with their colleagues to repeal the sunset of the provider tax and maintain funding for the Health Care Access Fund. Thank you.


    MPHA Policy & Advocacy Committee

  • May 09, 2019 10:59 AM | Anonymous

    Here are updates on Senate and House bills from the 2019 Legislative Session that Policy and Advocacy Committee members have shared with us.

    Issue/Topic: Provider Tax Sunset/Health Care Access Fund

    Bill Numbers/Title: HF2414/SF2452 Omnibus HHS Bills

    Brief description: Since its inception in 1992, Health Care Access Fund has supported Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare which provides health care coverage to working families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford health insurance. The current source of funding for HCAF is the provider tax, which is set to expire 12/31/19. If the provider tax expires, it would result in an almost $700 million annual loss in dedicated funding for health care in Minnesota. The HCAF also funds public health prevention strategies through the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP). Communities around Minnesota are using SHIP to increase access to fresh fruit and vegetables, serve healthier foods, make walking and biking easier, encourage multi-unit housing to go smoke-free, and engage with employers to improve wellness options for employees. Working with community partners, SHIP has accelerated reductions in smoking rates and slowed rising obesity rates, resulting in $620 M in averted health care spending since 2011.   

    Current Status: House omnibus bill includes an extension of the provider tax. Senate bill has the provider tax sunsetting as the funding source for the Health Care Access Fund, moving MDH programs including SHIP from the HCAF to the General Fund. The Senate bill also modifies SHIP to remove the requirement that SHIP address the top three preventable causes of disease (poor diet, lack of physical activity, and tobacco use) and instead would use the funding to address concerns raised in the statewide health assessment.

    Issue/Topic: Clean Energy

    Bill Numbers/Title: HF700/SF850

    Brief description: Health impacts related to climate change are significant and will accelerate without legislative action to reduce carbon emissions. The bill increases Minnesota’s renewable energy standard for electric utilities, removes garbage burning from definition of renewable energy, sets 100% carbon free energy standard in 2050, and includes language to ensure the benefits of the energy transition are shared equitably. Bipartisan support, but significant hurdles in the Senate.

    Current Status: HF700 passed out of HHS and Ways & Means committee. Senator Osmek introduced a bill containing some of the clean energy items.

    Issue/Topic: Healthy Food Access

    Bill Numbers/Title: HF436/SF1354 (Good Food Access Program)

    Brief description: This bill would invest $2.5 million/year in the Good Food Access Program, which is designed to provide grants, loans and technical assistance to small food retailers who are working to address Minnesota’s food access challenges. Since its establishment in 2016, the Program has supported a range of community-driven solutions, from enhanced grocery stores to mobile markets, farmers’ markets and more. In all, more than 20 communities have benefited, but food access challenges still exist for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans, putting them at higher risk for poor health conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Without a reinvestment, funding will run out this year. Visit https://www.mnhealthykids.org/good-food-access-campaign/ to learn more.

    Current Status: Good Food Access was included in the House agriculture omnibus bill (HF2200), with an appropriation of up to $350,000 per year. It is listed as an allowed expense in the Senate agriculture omnibus bill (SF2226) but lacks a specified funding amount. This will be one of the issues negotiated as part of the final agriculture omnibus bill in conference committee.

    Issue/Topic: CPR

    Bill Numbers/Title: HF1520/SF1638 (Telephone CPR)

    Brief description: This bill would strengthen our state’s EMS system by promoting telephone CPR training for 911 operators. The general public expects that, if they call 911 for a cardiac arrest emergency, the operator is going to be to tell them how to start CPR until help arrives, but this doesn’t always happen, because there are no minimum training standards for 911 operators in MN. This bill would ensure all 911 operators are trained to provide CPR instructions over the phone or to quickly transfer callers to a center that can, helping bystanders start CPR quickly while EMS is in route. Immediate bystander CPR can double, even triple, a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

    Current Status: Telephone CPR was included in the House public safety omnibus bill (HF2792) but not in the Senate public safety omnibus bill (SF802). This will be one of the issues negotiated as part of the final public safety omnibus bill in conference committee.

    Issue/Topic: Prescription Drug Transparency

    Bill Numbers/Title: HF704

    Brief description: Requires drug manufacturers to provide greater transparency over prescription drugs – cost disclosure for qualifying prescription drugs and report required.

    Current Status:Pending in the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee.

    Issue/Topic: Paid Family and Medical Leave

    Bill Numbers/Title: HF5, now incorporated into HF2208 (Jobs Omnibus); Senate Jobs Omnibus is SF2611

    Brief description: This bill would create a state-administered paid leave insurance program that would provide up to 12 weeks of partial wage replacement for medical and family leave, so Minnesotans can take care of themselves and their families. Everyone would contribute and everyone would benefit. Additional information attached. 

    Current Status: HF2208the Jobs Omnibus bill, was passed by the House on Wednesday, April 24th. The bill now heads to the Senate, where it is sponsored by Sen. Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake).

    Issue/Topic: Gun violence prevention legislation 

    Bill Numbers/Title: Expand firearm background checks  (HF 8)

    Brief description: This bill calls for expanding criminal background checks to include most private sales and transfers to include sales at gun shows or online. The background checks would not apply to a sale or transfer to an immediate family member. 

    Current Status: The bill has progressed through several House committees and has been included in the House’s public safety finance proposal, though the language has no Senate companion. 

    Issue/Topic: Gun violence prevention legislation 

    Bill Numbers/Title: “Red flag” law (HF 9/SF 436)

    Brief description: This bill would adopt a “red flag” law that would allow relatives and law enforcement to ask a judge to temporarily remove firearms from individuals who may be a serious threat to others or themselves. 

    Current Status:The bill has moved through the three House committees and is included in an omnibus finance bill, but the Senate version is not expected to get a hearing.

    Issue/Topic: Opioid Crisis/Opiate Epidemic Response

    Bill Numbers/Title: HF400/SF751

    Brief description: This bill would establish an Opioid Addiction Advisory Council, opioid stewardship fund, and opiate product registration fee; opioid addiction prevention, education, intervention, treatment, and recovery provisions modified; reports required; and money appropriated.

    Current Status: Conference Committee to negotiate the differences in the two versions of the bill.

    Tobacco policy updates

    The Minnesota House passed their Health and Human Services omnibus bill on 4/25, which contains four strong tobacco prevention and cessation policies. The bill tackles tobacco addiction from several angles by raising the tobacco age to 21, strengthening the clean indoor air act, securing statewide quit-smoking services, and dedicating delinquent tobacco settlement payments to health. The Senate HHS omnibus bill includes funding to maintain the state's tobacco cessation program, but none of the other three proposals.

    Tobacco 21 

    Summary: Raising the tobacco sale age to 21 will help reduce youth smoking and save lives, since 95% of addicted adult smokers started before age 21. To date, 31 Minnesota cities and counties have adopted Tobacco 21 policies. Tobacco 21 would have a profound effect on health, reducing smoking among 15-to-17-year-olds by an estimated 25 percent.

    More infoTobacco 21 fact sheet

    Smoking Cessation Funding

    Summary: QUITPLAN® Services, the state’s free quit-smoking helpline, is ending in 2020. Lawmakers must fund quit-smoking resources this year so there is no gap in help for Minnesotans who are trying to quit tobacco. If Minnesota does not fund a statewide service, it will become the only state in the nation not providing one.

    More infoCessation funding fact sheet

    Keeping Indoor Air Clean

    Summary: Minnesotans expect and deserve clean indoor air. This bill expands the definition of smoking to ensure Minnesota’s smoke-free indoor air law covers the use of e-cigarettes wherever smoking is prohibited. Several local Minnesota communities have passed these policies, but Minnesota does not have a comprehensive statewide law.

    More infoE-cigarette fact sheetE-cigarettes in CIAA poll fact sheet

    Dedicating Delinquent Tobacco Settlement Fees

    Summary: Since 2015, several cigarette brands have not been paying their required share of settlement fees to the state of Minnesota. Big Tobacco companies agreed to pay these fees in perpetuity as part of the 1998 Minnesota Tobacco Settlement. This bill states that if and when the delinquent companies pay these fees, part of those funds will be dedicated to health and addressing the harms caused by tobacco use, now and in the future.

    Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation, a coalition of more than 60 organizations that share a common goal of saving Minnesota youth from a lifetime of addiction to tobacco, thanked the House for passing a strong, multifaceted bill. The coalition urged the Minnesota Senate to follow the House’s lead by also passing these four provisions.

  • May 01, 2019 8:26 PM | Anonymous

    Attached are letters of support that MPHA signed on to for 2019 Legislative Session.

  • December 10, 2018 9:24 AM | Anonymous

  • August 13, 2018 2:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Election Season 2018 is in full swing!

    If you find yourself face to face with a candidate for local or statewide office,  promote public health in your community by asking one of the questions on our candidate guide.

    This could be the first step in building a relationship with your local representative. At the very least, they will hear what is important to you!

    MPHA 2018 Election Candidate Questions.pdf

    And if you use this guide, tell us about it! policy@mpha.net

  • February 09, 2017 7:55 AM | Anonymous

    In January 2017, MPHA once again signed on to the Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate letter to Minnesota's Legislators. The letter draws attention to three issues:

    1. the importance of building on recent progress in reducing carbon emissions and pollution; 
    2. the dangers of natural gas as a bridging fuel while phasing out coal; and 
    3. the need to protect our most vulnerable communities from the impacts of our changing environment.
    Read the full letter here: HPHC LTL Jan2017pdf.pdf

    Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate would like to hear from MPHA members interested in learning more about their work on these issues.  They can be reached at hpforhc1@gmail.com.

  • October 18, 2016 3:51 PM | Anonymous

    If you find yourself face to face with a candidate for local office, take the opportunity to promote public health in your community by asking one of the questions on our candidate guide.

    This could be the first step in building a relationship with your local representative. At the very least, they will hear what is important to you!

    And if you use this guide, tell us about it! policy@mpha.net

    MPHA 2016 Election Candidate Questions.pdf

  • March 30, 2016 5:08 PM | Anonymous

    Earlier this month, Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate called on Minnesota Senators and Representatives to take action to control carbon emissions improve health outcomes and reduce the costs of health care in Minnesota. MPHA signed on to this letter in our efforts to increase awareness of climate change as a public health threat. 

    Read the letter here. Dr. Phil Peterson, Professor Emeritus University of Minnesota Medical School and a member of the group, was interviewed by Midwest Energy News. Read that interview here.

  • April 24, 2015 4:02 PM | Anonymous

    This list includes status updates from a select number of bills during this legislative session related to MPHA’s 2015 legislative priorities. You can find and track additional public health bills using the APHA bill tracking website.


    Bill Title: S.F. No. 777 - Cigarettes annual indexing requirement elimination

    Brief description: Relating to taxation; repealing the annual indexing requirement for cigarettes

    Status: Referred to taxes on 02/12/2015

    Bill Title: S.F. No. 1135 - E-cigarettes (electronic delivery devices) use in certain places prohibition; sampling of vapor authorization

    Brief description: Relating to health; prohibiting the use of (e-cigarettes) electronic delivery devices in certain places; authorizing the sampling of tobacco and vapor from electronic delivery devices under certain conditions

    Status:  Referred to Health, Human Services and Housing on 02/26/2015

    Bill Title: H.F. 1253 - Electronic delivery device use prohibited, and sampling of vapor from electronic delivery devices allowed

    Status: Author added Newyon - 03/09/2015

    Bill Title: H.F. 1183 - E-cigarettes regulated

    Status: Introduction and first reading, referred to Health and Human Services Reform on 02/23/2015

    Bill Title: H.F. 1544 - Premium Cigar definition modified, and premium cigar maximum tax reduced

    Status: Author added Smith on 03/26/2015

    Bill Title: S.F. 1894 - Premium cigar definition modification and maximum tax reduction

    Brief description: Relating to taxation; reducing the maximum tax on premium cigars and modifying the definition of premium cigar

    Bill status: Referred to taxes on 03/19/2015

    Bill Title: H.F. 600 - Transportation finance governing provisions amended, gross receipts motor fuels tax established, vehicle registration tax and metropolitan area transit sales tax amended, highway user fund and county state-aid funding distribution modified, report required, bonds issued, and money appropriated.

    Brief description: Transportation finance governing provisions amended, gross receipts motor fuels tax established, vehicle registration tax and metropolitan area transit sales tax amended, highway user fund and county state-aid funding distribution modified, report required, bonds issued, and money appropriated.

    Bill status: Author added Fischer on 03/12/2015

    Bill Title: S.F. 1762 - E-cigarettes (electronic delivery device) regulation and prohibition repeal

    Brief description: Regulating e-cigarettes (electronic delivery device) under the department of health; repealing the electronic cigarette prohibition

    Bill status: Referred to Health, Human Services and Housing on 03/16/2015

    Bill Title: S.F. 1699 - E-cigarettes (electronic delivery devices) licensed salespeople sanitization regulation and inspections establishment

    Brief description: Requiring the sanitization regulations and inspections for certain licensees who sell e-cigarettes (electronic delivery devices), defining certain terms; specifying required sanitary measures for mixing a solution to be used in e-cigarettes (electronic delivery devices); requiring sanitary measures for customers who sample e-cigarettes; specifying requirements for handling nicotine; establishing inspection authority and certain penalties

    Bill Status: Referred to Health, Human Services and Housing - 03/12/2015

    Bill Title: S.F. 1836 - Menthol-flavored cigarette usage study in the African-American community and appropriation

    Brief description: Appropriating money to the commissioner of health to evaluate and develop strategies to address menthol-flavored cigarette usage in the African-American community and to develop strategies to address cigarette usage and the harm in that community; report requirement

    Bill status: Referred to Finance - 03/18/2015

    Bill Title: H.F. 2139 - African-American community evaluation and strategy development funding provided to address menthol-flavored cigarette use, and money appropriated.

    Bill status: Authors added Liebling; Hausman; Davnie; Murphy, E.; Clark; Carlson; and Laine - 04/07/2015

    Bill title: H.F. 2089 - Smoking definition under Clean Indoor Air Act expanded

    Bill status: Introduction and first reading, referred to Health and Human Services Reform  - 03/23/2015

    Bill title: H.F. 2182 - Nicotine solution used in electronic cigarettes tax rate changed

    Bill status: Introduction and first reading, referred to Health and Human Services Reform - 04/09/2015

    Bill title: S.F. 87 - Transportation funding provisions modification; gross receipts motor fuels tax establishment; vehicle registration tax and metropolitan area transit sales sale provisions modification; highway user fund and county state aid funding distribution modification; railroad recodification; trunk highway bonds authorization

    Brief description: 1E Relating to transportation ARTICLE 1 - TRUNK HIGHWAY BONDING Appropriating money to the department of transportation (DOT) for the corridors of commerce program and the transportation economic development program; authorizing and providing for the sale of state bonds ARTICLE 2 - GROSS RECEIPTS TAX Imposing a motor fuels gross receipts tax, specifying exemptions; making conforming amendments ARTICLE 3 - VEHICLE REGISTRATION TAX Increasing the motor vehicle registration tax ARTICLE 4- ...

    Bill status: Comm report: To pass as amended and refer to Finance - 03/25/2015

    Bill title: S.F. 2025 - E-cigarettes (electronic delivery device) nicotine solution tax rate modification and vapor products use tax imposition 

    Brief description: Relating to tobacco taxes; changing the tax rate for nicotine solution used in electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes); defining consumable material, vapor products, and expanding the definition of tobacco products; imposing certain taxes on vapor products; modifying certain provisions relating to rates of tax, exemptions from tax, and promotional distribution of tobacco products.

    Bill status: Referred to Taxes - 04/07/2015

    Hearings: 1. 04/15/2015 08:30 AM [ ] - Committee On Taxes - Room 15 Capitol

    Bill title: H.F. 1638 - Omnibus health and human services finance bill

    Brief description: A bill for an act relating to state government; establishing the health and human services budget; modifying provisions governing health care, MinnesotaCare, MNsure, continuing care, nursing facility payments and workforce development, public 

    health and health care delivery, children and family services, chemical and mental health, direct care and treatment, withdrawal management programs, and health-related licensing boards. Eliminates funding for SHIP.

    Bill status: Committee report, to adopt as amended and re-refer to Ways and Means - 04/22/2015

    Bill title: H.F. 1645 - Active transportation programs provided to support bicycle pedestrian, and other nonmotorized transportation activities; and legislative report required.

    Bill status: Author added Fischer - 03/26/2015

    Bill title: S.F 1458 - Omnibus health and human services finance bill

    Brief description: Removing the child support application fee (rt)

    Bill status: Second reading - 04/23/2015

    Bill title: H.F. 844 - Omnibus K-12 education policy and finance bill

    Brief description: Relating to education, providing for funding and policy in early childhood, 

    kindergarten through grade 12. Does not include the PE bill, includes no new funding for school nutrition.

    Bill status: Second reading - 04/23/2015

    Bill title: S.F. 1376 - Active transportation programs establishment to support bicycle, pedestrian, and other nonmotorized transportation activities; bicycle sales tax dedication to active transportation program

    Brief description: 1E Relating to transportation; establishing and providing for active transportation programs to support bicycle, pedestrian, and other nonmotorized transportation activities; defining certain terms; specifying authority powers and duties, program requirements and bond eligible costs; dedicating revenues from the sales tax on bicycles to the active transportation program; requiring the development of an project evaluation and selection process; report requirement.

    Bill status: See SF 87; Art. 8; Sec. 10, 16, 26 - 03/11/2015 (Comm report: To pass as amended and refer to Finance - 03/25/2-15)

  • March 12, 2014 4:48 PM | Anonymous
    An increase in the minimum wage is gaining traction this legislative session. In keeping with our Health in All Policies focus, Minnesota Public Health Association is releasing an Issue Brief to help guide members in discussions with legislators about the interaction between wages and health. Click here to read the brief. If you would like more information on the minimum wage in Minnesota, you will find some context here

    On Monday, March 3rd, MPHA President-Elect Kristen Walters stood with the Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger and other community leaders in a press event to advocate for an increased minimum wage in Minnesota. Commissioner Ehlinger also released his department's White Paper on Income and Health. Click here to read the white paper. To quote Kristen, "MPHA supports increasing the minimum wage as one strategy to improve health, in addition to other economic and health policies to reduce health inequities.  MPHA recommends a raise in minimum wage to an income sufficient to meet subsistence needs such as food, housing, clothing, transportation, and child care."

    We will be handing out the issue brief, along with other materials, to legislators at our Day on the Hill April 9. Join us!

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