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Here’s How Progressives are Making Health Care More Affordable for Minnesotans.

Here’s How Progressives are Making Health Care More Affordable for Minnesotans

Today, we honor the memory of Alec Smith, a young Minnesotan who died when he couldn’t afford his insulin.

Since his passing, progressives and advocates for affordable health care across the state have worked tirelessly to ensure every Minnesotan has access to the care they deserve.

Progressives successfully championed insulin affordability legislation despite the wealthy pharmaceutical companies that tried to stop the legislation from passing.

But, there was still much work to be done. 

This year, Minnesotans secured a historic progressive trifecta. And with it, the opportunity to make big and bold changes for health care affordability across the state.

Here’s a recap of Minnesota’s new health care victories aimed at lowering health care costs while increasing access to the care Minnesotans need to live a healthy life.

Minnesota Legislature Caps the Cost of Insulin, Asthma Inhalers and Epi-Pens

In a momentous win for diabetics and other chronically ill Minnesotans, health plans must now limit copays for prescription drugs to treat chronic diseases at $25, or less a month. 

The new law also limits co-pays for medical supplies, including syringes, insulin pens, insulin pumps, test strips, glucometers, continuous glucose monitors, epinephrine auto-injectors, asthma inhalers, and other medical necessary supplies at $50 per month. 

And the legislature established a Prescription Drug Affordability Board to stop the price-gouging of prescription drugs by big pharmaceutical companies. 

Undocumented Minnesotans Can Enroll in MinnesotaCare

In a massive victory for undocumented and low-income Minnesotans, this session, we saw a record expansion of the state’s publicly subsidized insurance program for low-income residents, known as MinnesotaCare. 

About 17% of Minnesota’s uninsured are undocumented, and under this new law, they will now have access to health insurance under MinnesotaCare. 

Minnesota is now the second state to allow all low-income residents to enroll in public insurance, regardless of immigration status. 

Paid Family and Medical Leave

Unfortunately, many Minnesotans don’t have access to paid time off when they or a family member is in need and are forced to choose between going to work sick or not being able to pay their bills. 

That’s why progressives have spent the last decade fighting for Paid Family and Medical leave. Despite conservative opposition, Minnesota will now establish a state-administered paid leave insurance program where everyone contributes and everyone benefits. 

Protecting Reproductive Rights

With increased funding for reproductive health care, funds for family planning, and the repeal of archaic anti-abortion statutes, Minnesota progressives are taking a firm stand on access to reproductive care. 

This session, Governor Tim Walz signed the PRO Act codifying the right to abortion into Minnesota law. 

And as the right to abortion is continuously under siege in our neighboring states, Governor Walz signed the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act to keep Minnesota a beacon of access to reproductive care in the Midwest. 

The bill will protect patients coming to Minnesota from a state that banned abortions and doctors who practice in Minnesota or outside of Minnesota.

Improving Mental Health Care in Minnesota

The new budget makes historic investments in building and supporting our mental health care system. It includes funding for mental health grants and support for a new 988 suicide and crisis lifeline.

These investments will build a system that will save lives, reduce hospital stress, and help Minnesotans access mental health treatment.

Building a Better Minnesota 

Seeing what can be achieved under progressive leadership has truly been inspiring. 

But it’s only the beginning. Every single one of these historic health care measures faced opposition from conservatives in the legislature. 

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