Happy Monday! From the Minnesota Legislature to text and phone banks, we’re organizing and advocating for care this week. This legislative session, we have the opportunity to close a huge access gap when it comes to affordable healthcare by ending Big Pharma price gouging, and setting upper payment limits for prescription drugs in Minnesota. Read on to learn more about the Prescription Drug Affordability Act, COVID-19 relief, and climate justice policy, and text CARE to 79606 for updates and ways to get involved this week.
- On Tuesday 2/16, the House Commerce committee will hear the Prescription Drug Affordability Act (HF 801), which would establish a Prescription Drug Affordability Board.
- A Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB) would have the authority to establish statewide upper payment limits for prescription drug sales in Minnesota. It would protect consumers, state and local governments, health plan companies, providers, pharmacies, and other health care system stakeholders from price gouging by big pharmaceutical corporations.
- Prescription drug price gouging is affecting Minnesotans and forcing them to choose between overpriced, life saving medications and other necessities like groceries and rent. A recent survey from Altarum Healthcare Value Hub revealed that 21% of Minnesotans rationed unaffordable medication by cutting pills in half, skipping doses, or not filling prescriptions. 70% of Minnesotans believe that pharmaceutical corporations charge too much money, and 87% of Minnesotans support the creation of a Prescription Drug Affordability Board.
- On Tuesday 2/16, the House Health committee will hear four bills to improve Minnesota’s medical cannabis program (HFs 907, 1023, 675, and 813).
- On Tuesday 2/16, the House Early Childhood committee will hear HF 5, which would appropriate $159.6 million as support funds for child care providers to help them with the cost of implementing state and federal public health guidance related to COVID19. The bill also appropriates $11.5 million to increase the number of families who receive child care assistance.
- Under HF 5, eligible licensed family child care providers may receive up to $1,500 each month, eligible licensed child care centers may receive up to $10,000 each month, and eligible certified, license-exempt child care centers may receive up to $3,500 each month.
- On Tuesday 2/16, the House Climate and Energy committee will hear the Next Generation Climate Act. Under this bill, the state would set a new greenhouse gas reduction target of 45 percent by 2030 and a 100 percent cut by 2050, instead of 80 percent, which is called for under current law.
Additional important hearings being held at the Capitol this week:
- On Tuesday 2/16, the House Capital Investments committee will hear HF 728, a bill for $300 million in bonds to redevelop areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul affected by the uprising that followed the murder of George Floyd in May-June of 2020.
- On Tuesday 2/16, the Senate Committee on Higher Education will hear SF 797, a bill with bipartisan support to establish the Aspiring Minnesota Teachers of Color Scholarship Program.
- The Committee will also hear SF 526, another bill with bipartisan support, to provide funding to Black Men Teach Twin Cities to establish partnerships with eight school district elementary schools or elementary charter schools with a goal of increasing the number of Black male teachers to 20 percent of the employees at each school site.
- On Wednesday 2/17, the House Commerce committee will hear HF 600, a bill to legalize recreational adult-use cannabis.
- On Thursday 2/18, the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform committee will hear HF 952, a bill to create a Task Force on Missing and Murdered African American Women.
- On Thursday 2/18, the Senate Committee on Housing will hear SF 912, a bill that would prohibit local governments from controlling rents – even if the people vote to approve rent control.
No matter where we live or what we look like, we all deserve to live in a world where we don’t have to choose between the cost of lifesaving medications and rent. We all want a just climate future for ourselves and future generations, and after a year of living in a global pandemic, we want our government to offer relief and support to all who need it. Take action with us this week to help build a Minnesota where everyone has enough to thrive:
- Join us for the week of Care in Action! Together, we’ll work to ensure our elected officials hear what we need for a caring economy that puts the people & planet first. Text CARE to 79606 for updates and opportunities to get involved.
- Watch the Prescription Drug Affordability Act’s first hearing at 3:00 on Tuesday, 2/16, and call on your legislators to make prescription drugs affordable and accessible to ALL Minnesotans. We’ll also be live-tweeting the hearing; follow along here.
- Call on President Biden to #StopLine3. We’re less than 1,400 signatures away from our goal! This pipeline violates treaty rights and would create pollution equal to 50 coal power plants. For climate justice, treaty rights, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and public health in a global pandemic – we need to stop Line 3, and President Biden has the power to halt construction immediately.