On November 3rd, ASBM submitted comments to the Minnesota Department of Commerce on two mandated health benefit bills, as part of a public comment period.

The first proposal was SF 990, mandating coverage of multiple biologic products, which ASBM opposed. ASBM had previously led patient advocacy organization opposition to the measure last summer. From the comment letter: 

It is our view that HF 1516/SF 990 while intended to promote competition and lower prices, may result in unintended negative consequences- such as actually increasing, rather than lowering, drug costs for Minnesota patients.

While we strongly support legislation that is written with the goal of realizing cost savings through competition between multiple biologic products, we believe that HF 1516/SF 990 undermines this objective by removing current incentives to compete on price and will ultimately reduce rather than promote affordability of biologics. For this reason, we strongly urge the Department of Commerce to oppose SF 990.

ASBM’s comments offered support for the second bill, HF 4899, which would mandate health plan coverage for biomarker testing: 

Patients with serious and chronic conditions such as cancer or rheumatoid arthritis must often try multiple treatments before finding the one that works best for them. Biomarker testing helps ensure that patients receive the right treatment for them in a timely manner.

But health care coverage for biomarker testing too often fails to keep pace with these scientific advancements. HF 4899 will work to remedy this by requiring health plans in Minnesota to cover biomarker testing when supported by medical and scientific evidence, including nationally-recognized clinical practice guidelines and FDA approval.

Timely access to appropriate biomarker testing helps achieve better health outcomes, improves quality of life for patients, and reduces costs to our health system. For these reasons, we strongly urge the Department of Commerce to support HF4899.

Read ASBM’s comment letter here.