Governor vetoes patient protection bill

Governor Ventura vetoed a bill that would have enhanced patient protections for people receiving their health insurance through a health […]

Governor Ventura vetoed a bill that would have enhanced patient protections for people receiving their health insurance through a health plan.  The Governor was concerned about the potential costs of these changes to the state employee health plan. The bill passed the Senate on a
vote of 62-0 and the House of Representatives 132-2. 

Some of the provisions included in the bill were providing continuity of care for 120 days in specified circumstances if a person was changing health plans. An example of this is a person with multiple sclerosis who has a flare-up of their symptoms while they are in the process of changing health plans.  Under this bill, that person could continue to see their doctor who was familiar with their health care needs for an additional 120 days.

The bill also requires that the medical directors of health plan companies with 50,000 or more enrollees must be licensed as physicians in Minnesota.  Many medical directors who are making decisions about what a person does and does not need for their medical care are not licensed to practice medicine in Minnesota.

Civil penalties collected by the Department of Commerce and the Department of Health for violations of laws or rules on the part of the health plan must, in most cases, be shared 50-50 with the policyholders affected by the plan.  This provision was brought from the concern of how
consumers were treated if the health plan had made a decision that violated a law or a rule. In these cases a fine could be levied against the health plan, but the consumer would receive no compensation for their time and trouble.

As of press time, it was unclear if the House and Senate would attempt to override the Governor’s veto during the upcoming special session.