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AFP-MN Advocates for Removal of Barriers to Health Care Access for Minnesotans

Feb 22, 2021 by AFP

ST. PAUL, MN – Americans for Prosperity-Minnesota (AFP-MN) today urged lawmakers to permanently remove bureaucratic restrictions on delivery of telehealth services and opposed creation of new methods of government control in the health care marketplace.

AFP-MN State Director Jason Flohrs testified before the Senate Health and Human Services Policy and Finance Committee in support SF1160, a bill that would remove unnecessary regulations on the delivery of telemedicine. You can read the full testimony here.

An excerpt from Flohrs’ testimony:

“In April of last year, we commended actions at both the federal and state levels that removed many of the bureaucratic barriers that stood in the way of our most vulnerable citizens getting the care they need. Across the nation, telemedicine restrictions were waived to allow safer doctor visits from home, licensing laws were suspended, giving medical professionals the ability to work where they were needed most, and restrictions on hospital beds and equipment were lifted.”

“These changes were viewed by some as only temporary, necessary only within the parameters of the massive health care response to the pandemic. But if temporarily removing these regulatory barriers to care helped improve the health of patients, helped deal with hospital capacity issues, and lowered costs, then why wouldn’t we want those barriers to stay down permanently?”

On the House side, AFP-MN sent members of the Health Finance and Policy Committee a letter urging them to oppose HF801, which would create a new “Drug Price Affordability Board”. You can read the full letter here.

An excerpt from AFP-MN’s letter:

“Following on the heels of the compulsory price disclosure already enacted, this bill will further pave the way to direct government price controls, which will unavoidably harm patients by inducing needless scarcity and market distortions. Price controls typically culminate in government rationing, which can be dangerous, corrupt, and counterproductive. Even when the government purchases or reimburses for it directly, a product’s price can and should be determined by market forces rather than fiat. This bill is also unethical to the extent that it violates private property rights.

“This board will only serve as a mechanism for imposing price controls indirectly and incrementally, attempting to disguise their negative impacts from a general public opposed to direct government control of pricing. But whether direct or indirect, the result will be the same – less medical innovation leading to fewer cures and therapies and inevitable healthcare shortages and reductions in care for American patients.”

Background:

In the closing days of the regular session last year, AFP-MN released a guide for lawmakers to help them navigate the challenges ahead and prepare for the fiscal and economic crisis caused by COVID-19 and business shutdowns after AFP-MN supported many of the initial steps taken by state leaders.

AFP-MN has long opposed well-intentioned but harmful policies that have added unnecessary and avoidable government-imposed costs to health care. In 2019, AFP-MN opposed a bill that would impose additional prescription drug licensing fees, and in 2020 warned of the dangers of compulsory price disclosure that infringed on intellectual property rights.