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More friendly committee gets Minn. prescription drug bill

ST. PAUL—Minnesota representatives have moved legislation that would require insurance companies to usually fund medicine a doctor prescribes.

A bill by Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, would limit the power of benefit managers, who control costs for insurance companies, to deny prescriptions during an insurance policy's term.

On an overwhelming voice vote, the House moved the bill out of the Commerce Committee, whose chairman would not give the bill a hearing. It now is in a more friendly health and human services committee.

Hamilton last week demanded a hearing and told reporters that Commerce Chairman Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska, should not "cower behind a damned gavel."

On Monday, Hamilton apologized to the full House.

"I have said a few things that I regret and I want to apologize," Hamilton said, adding that he considers Hoppe a friend.

It is personal legislation for Hamilton, a multiple sclerosis patient who he said he was blocked from getting fatigue-fighting medication by a benefits manager.


Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.