MN Government Updates 07.01

Walz and Advocates Celebrate Launch of Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program

Today, Governor Walz, Lieutenant Governor Flanagan, and insulin affordability advocates celebrated the launch of the Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program. The program, created by the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act, allows Minnesotans in urgent need of insulin to access the life-saving drug through their pharmacy.

“Every Minnesotan deserves access to the medicine they need at a price they can afford,” Governor Walz said. “But the skyrocketing cost of insulin has priced too many Minnesotans out of the drug they need to live. Thanks to the fighting spirit of Minnesotans with diabetes and the families who have lost loved ones to this crisis, this program will now provide much-needed relief to Minnesotans struggling to afford their insulin.”

“For far too long, cost has been a barrier to accessing life-saving insulin. Today in Minnesota, we say that that is no longer acceptable,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “The Insulin Safety Net Program ensures that no Minnesotan will need to choose between the insulin they need to live, food on the table, or a place to call home. I am grateful to the advocates and parents who fought so hard for this program so that no other parent would have to bury their child.”

The Insulin Safety Net Program—implemented by MNsure, the state’s health insurance marketplace, and the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy—has two parts: 1) The urgent need program for eligible Minnesotans to receive a once-per-year 30-day supply of insulin immediately at their pharmacy for no more than a $35 copay; and 2) The continuing need program for eligible Minnesotans to receive up to a year supply of insulin for no more than $50 per 90-day refill.

Interested individuals should visit MNinsulin.org to see if they qualify and learn how to apply.

To honor Alec Smith, who died at the age of 26 after losing his parents’ health insurance and was not able to afford the insulin he needed to survive, Governor Walz declared July 1, 2020 as Alec Smith Day in the State of Minnesota. The bill creating the safety net program – the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act – bears his name.

Minnesota Department of Health Briefing

This afternoon, officials with the Minnesota Department of Health conducted a press briefing with reporters to update the public on state efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Department of Health

  • Commissioner Malcolm announced 426 new laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19. This brings the state’s total number of cases to 36,716.
  • Just under 12,000 COVID-19 tests were conducted yesterday.
  • The seven-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 3.7%.
  • The median case age is 38.9.
  • Currently, 260 patients are hospitalized for COVID-19 with 125 of those in the ICU.
  • The hospitalization rate dropped by 10.
  • The ICU use dropped by 11.
  • This is the lowest level of ICU utilization since the end of April
  • There were four additional deaths due to COVID-19. This brings the state total to 1,445 deaths.
  • Commissioner Malcolm encouraged those celebrating Independence Day this weekend to celebrate with those in their household or to keep group sizes limited. She reiterated the benefit of gathering outdoors as a better environment to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • The commissioner also mentioned that the Department of Health has resources for those who want to quit smoking. More information is available at QuitPartnerMN.com.
  • When asked what her advice is to the governor relating to a statewide mask mandate, the commissioner responded that there has been a “vigorous conversation” in the executive branch on the issue. She also said the department is recommending a requirement on wearing a mask on a statewide level.

Dr. Ruth Lynfield, State Epidemiologist

  • Dr. Lynfield announced that the state received a shipment of 1,680 vials Remdesivir yesterday. This medication has shown to reduce a COVID-19 patient’s time in the hospital.
  • When asked about the growing number of COVID-19 cases associated with bars in Minnesota, Dr. Lynfield said that state now has had 300 cases of COVID-19 associated with bars. She encouraged those who patron bars to stay seated and wear a mask when not consuming food or beverages. The department is concerned about individuals who visit a bar and then visit an older family member who may have a severe disease.

Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
LOCKRIDGE GRINDAL NAUEN P.L.L.P.
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