Legislative Action

Welcome to our Legislative Action action page! Here you’ll find information about legislative efforts that are currently underway at the state and federal levels that are important to keeping independent pharmacy alive and accessible in the United States, as well as who to contact and what to say when you reach out to your representatives. Next to the name of each bill you’ll also find links to one-page bill summaries (e.g., “SF2067”) so that you can read up on the specifics of that bill, and at the bottom of this page is a growing list of helpful educational resources.

If you don't vote in the state of Minnesota, check out what’s happening in your state currently to address pharmacy-related issues such as PBM (Pharmacy Benefit Manager) abuse, provider status for pharmacists, test-to-treat legislation, equal payment for medical services, etc.

To find out who represents you in our state and federal governments, visit CommonCause.org and enter the address where you’re registered to vote.

Minnesota State

For all of the bills below, you’ll want to contact your local MN State Senator and MN State Representative.

Bills of Interest

Medicaid Carveout | SF2067 & HF1752

Why it’s important

This bill would help ensure that pharmacy providers like us are appropriately compensated by Managed Care Organizations (MCOs, or private insurance companies) that are hired by the state to provide healthcare coverage for Medicaid recipients. Currently, MCOs are being paid adequately by the state’s Medicaid program, but are not actually delivering on the care they’ve promised to cover for members; rather, they are keeping a majority of their profits for themselves and barely compensating pharmacies like us for the work of filling their members’ prescriptions.

Status as of 3/20/23

HF1752 had a hearing on 2/28/23 and will become part of the House Omnibus bill (a catchall bill where pharmacy is a small part of a larger bill that will also pertain to dentists, chiropractors, etc.). This bill has 9 co-authors (7 Democrats, 2 Republicans) and is officially bi-partisan. Bills in the MN House can have an unlimited number of co-authors, so encourage your Representative to sign on as one!

  • Specifically looking to have Representative Jeff Backer (R—District 9A—Browns Valley, Wheaton, Herman, Pelican Lake, Ashby, Fergus Falls) sign on as a co-author

SF2067 has a hearing scheduled for 3/22/23 at 8:30am where our Pharmacist and Owner, John Hoeschen, will be testifying. This bi-partisan bill has 4 co-authors (3 Democrats, 1 Republican) of the 6 allowed and will also be rolled into the Senate Omnibus bill.

  • Specifically looking to have Senators Paul Utke (R—District 5), Jim Abeler (R—District 35), and/or Rich Draheim (R—District 22) sign-on as co-authors

Watch our Pharmacist and Owner, John Hoeschen, testify to the MN House about this bill!

Sharing this video with your MN State Senator and Representative is a great way to help communicate why these bills are so vital to independent pharmacy surviving in our state! John begins speaking at 10:39, but the commentary provided before by Representative Tina Liebling (D—District 24B) and Luke Slindee, PharmD puts his testimony into context. Click here to be led to the original video on YouTube.

Continuation of Pharmacy Immunization & Testing Authorities | SF1176 & HF1197

Why it’s important

During COVID-19, the government relied on Minnesota pharmacies as a vital partner, ensuring we all had access to disease-preventing and life-saving vaccinations. Minnesota pharmacies answered the call and administered millions of vaccinations, including more than 4 million COVID doses (to date, our pharmacy has personally given about 32,000 doses on- and off-site). Pharmacy authorization to provide FDA-approved and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)-recommended vaccines under the federal PREP Act expires on or soon after May 11, 2023; if lawmakers don’t act, you and your family may not be able to get all your needed vaccines from your pharmacy.

Payment for Healthcare Services | SF2459 & HF2503

Why it’s important

This bill would make it so that medical services, regardless of how they’re delivered (in a clinic, at a pharmacy, etc.), are equally compensated. For example, we are currently paid less than clinics to give immunizations, even though we are doing so with the same expertise, efficiency, and safety. Pharmacies like us who provide services outside the dispensing of medications (e.g., immunization, point-of-care testing, medication administration like injectable HIV PrEP or antipsychotics) deserve equal compensation as our healthcare counterparts.

If you’d like to stay up to date on the trajectory of these and other bills being debated in the Minnesota State Legislature, click here to set up a free MyBills account. MyBills allows you to track House and Senate bills by bill number and topic. When you log in, your bills will be listed along with information about recent or upcoming significant action. Please note that MyBills does NOT send email notifications of legislative changes; rather, you must login to your account to see this information.

Federal (US Congress)

For the two bills listed below, you’ll want to contact your US Senators (2) and US Representative.

Bills of Interest

Pharmacy Benefit Manager Transparency Act | S.127

Why it’s important

PBMs (Pharmacy Benefit Managers) are third-party administrators of prescription drug programs for health plans. Hired by payers (corporate employers, government organizations, health plans, etc.) to interface with drug manufacturers and process prescription-related insurance claims, they are the “middleman” between dispensing pharmacies like us and the entities that help cover the cost of patients’ prescriptions. Through a number of ethically questionable and mysterious practices, they currently siphon magnificent amounts of money from both sides of this equation, and have left the network of independent pharmacies in our nation crumbling, as well as contributed to the rising costs of prescription drugs and difficulty patients have getting the medications they’re prescribed covered by insurance. This bill would require PBMs to report the amount of money they obtain from “spread pricing” (when a PBM reimburses pharmacies and health plans differently for a drug) and ban this practice. It would also grant the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enhanced powers to enforce this legislation.

Prescription Pricing for the People Act | S.113

Why it's important

PBMs operate with little to no transparency, making it very difficult (if not impossible) to understand the flow of money in the prescription drug marketplace and how PBMs determine the prices for prescription drugs. This bill will help to provide better transparency of the PBM industry by examining the effects of consolidation on pricing and other potentially abusive behavior. Specifically, the legislation directs the FTC to issue a report within one year addressing specific concerns, which will also include policy recommendations to Congress on improving transparency, preventing anticompetitive behavior, and ensuring that consumers actually benefit from cost savings.

Drug Price Transparency in Medicaid Act of 2023 | H.R.1613 (language of proposed bill; summary to come)

Why it's important

Similar to the Pharmacy Benefit Manager Transparency Act (S.127), this bill would address issues of PBM abuse, including spread pricing, as it pertains specifically to the Medicaid program. PBMs aren’t just ripping off independent pharmacies, they’re also siphoning money from our nation’s Medicaid and Medicare programs. This is an important issue to tackle not just because the Medicaid and Medicare programs provide care for some of our most vulnerable community members, but also because all US citizens contribute tax dollars to help pay for these programs. An unhealthy society—both physically and financially—is bad for every single one of us that lives and receives healthcare in this nation.

Our letter published 2/1/23 (updated 2/10/23) is a great resource for learning more about these two federal bills. It also includes sample scripts to use when calling, emailing, or sending a letter to your representatives.

Want to learn more? Check out the resources below!

Questions about any of the above? Email hildie@stpaulcornerdrug.com.