Patients in Minnesota and across the country need to be able to trust that their medications are safe. Unfortunately, that hasn't always been the case.
Last year, a deadly meningitis outbreak that stemmed from contaminated medications underscored the need to increase oversight for compounded drugs—which are made, mixed, diluted, or combined for individual patients.
Over the past several months, I've worked hard to get critical oversight in place over facilities that compound drugs so that patients and providers in Minnesota can access safe medicine.
I'm very pleased that, in the Senate, we were able to come together and introduce a bipartisan bill that will go a long way towards preventing another tragic outbreak. And recently, that bill cleared a key legislative hurdle when it received backing from a strong, bipartisan coalition in the U.S. House of Representatives.
But I'm not finished working. I'm continually talking with doctors, nurses, and providers about how we can better increase safety for patients. And I'm hopeful that in the near future we can get this passed and signed into law to strengthen protections for Minnesotans who need compounded drugs.
With one-in-five Minnesota jobs tied to agriculture—and with crops currently being harvested across the state—this is a critically important time for our farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.
This week, I'm meeting with Minnesota producers and ag leaders to talk about issues that are vital to them.
Now, with the federal government shutdown over, it's clear what needs to happen in Washington: we need to pass a five-year Farm Bill to give farmers and ranchers the certainty they need to plan for the future. We also need to promote renewable and energy-efficient technologies to help create good jobs and grow our ag industry—and that's exactly what the energy section of this year's Senate Farm Bill, which I wrote, will do.
Over and over, I keep hearing how important it is that Congress finish the Farm Bill, which will save tens of billions of dollars. And with the Senate and House poised to start discussions on a final bill, I will press to ensure that Minnesota's ag industry is a top priority.
In the coming months, I will continue my work on issues that are important to our farmers, ranchers, and rural communities to help keep our farm economy strong and vibrant.
As your U.S. Senator, I have been working hard to help make sure implementation of health reform works as well as possible for Minnesotans. This month, individuals and families throughout the state have already started applying for and enrolling in coverage through MNsure, Minnesota's new online marketplace for getting quality health insurance.
For anyone who doesn't have comprehensive coverage through their employer or through Medicare, MNsure.org gives Minnesotans the opportunity to compare the different health insurance options available to them and to sign up for coverage online.
MNsure's website also lets them find out what tax credits or other assistance they might qualify for. I urge you to log on to MNsure.org"or call 1-855-366-7873 to check out your coverage options.
Minnesotans want us to implement the health reform law as effectively as possible, including keeping costs down and giving people better access to high-quality insurance. And if there are problems along the way, I'll be working as hard as I can to address them. As always, my office is available to help Minnesotans who have questions or concerns.