Policy

Minnesota bill aims to clear up confusion on cord blood banks

A Minnesota House proposal would require health service providers to inform pregnant patients by their 30th week of pregnancy of available umbilical cord blood banking programs, and explain the difference between public and private options. However, the law would exempt providers whose religious beliefs conflict with umbilical cord blood banking. Umbilical cord blood stem cells […]

A Minnesota House proposal would require health service providers to inform pregnant patients by their 30th week of pregnancy of available umbilical cord blood banking programs, and explain the difference between public and private options. However, the law would exempt providers whose religious beliefs conflict with umbilical cord blood banking. Umbilical cord blood stem cells can be used in transplants to treat a variety of pediatric disorders including leukemia, sickle cell disease and metabolic disorders. Private cord blood banking refers to storing a baby’s cord blood for for future use, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Alternatively, public cord blood banking means that while the baby’s cord blood is stored in a cord blood bank, it is available to anyone in need of a transplant and may be used for research purposes.

  • A sweeping plan that its sponsors have labeled “The Minnesota Prosperity Act” was introduced in the House. The bill would allow health plans sold in other states to be sold in Minnesota, provided the plans are sold by “insurance producers” from Minnesota, among other requirements. In addition, the proposal would establish an angel investment tax credit and repeal a number of taxes, including the state corporate franchise tax.
  • A Senate bill that would require health maintenance organizations to report administrative data was referred to the Committee on State and Local Government Operations and Oversight. The bill would establish an “Advisory Group on Administrative Expenses” that would be chaired by the state’s commissioner of health. The nine-member group would be charged with evaluating the “reasonableness” of administrative expenses reported by health maintenance organizations that participate in publicly funded programs. The bill would appropriate $100,000 in 2011 for the creation of the group.
  • A proposal that would require health plans to cover “routine”  care received while participating in a qualified clinical trial was referred to the Senate’s Committee on Health, Housing and Family Security. The bill defines routine care costs as those for which the health plan regularly covers its members and care that would be covered were it not associated with a clinical trial. The bill contains several caveats, including that insurance companies would only be required to cover clinical trial-care costs if there is “no clearly superior” treatment already on the market.
  • Gov. Tim Pawlenty  plans to sign a “compromise” bill that would extend a state program that provides health coverage to low-income residents, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported. The General Assistance Medical Care program was set to expire April 1. The big losers in the compromise appear to be the state’s hospitals and clinics, which will see their funding for the program slashed to $132 million from $400 million.

Photo from flickr user KeithBurtis

Private cord blood banking is storing the baby’s cord blood for his/her own future use or use for a family member should the need arise. Alternatively, public cord blood banking, or donating, means that the baby’s cord blood is stored in a cord blood bank and is available to anyone in need of a transplant or may be used research purposes.