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Minnesota legislation targets health insurers' power to block medical care, medications

Health insurance companies would lose significant power over patients in Minnesota if lawmakers approve limits on the use of prior authorization for treatments and medications.

The House voted to prevent prior authorization reviews of many treatments for cancer and mental disorders, and eliminate redundant reviews for chronically ill people with unchanged treatment needs. The Senate so far has favored a smaller package of reforms. Both chambers would extend existing limits on prior authorization reviews to the state's Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare programs.

Rep. Kristin Bahner, DFL-Maple Grove, said she has been fighting for years to enact these limits. She used to work in a prior authorization unit for an insurance company and coached people to get through the process because she thought it was cumbersome and stacked against them.


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