Rep. Kelly Morrison, MD, Minnesota House of Representatives
December 2019 Advocacy Champion
1. Why is being an advocate so important to you?
I ran for office for the first time after the 2016 election because I was so concerned about the state of political discourse in our country and our state and I wanted to be part of positive, constructive problem solving at the State House. But I also ran because I wanted to be a voice for science and for evidence-based, fact-driven policy making. If we believe in the concept of the citizen legislature, where people from different backgrounds with different skills sets come together to represent the people of our state and make policy together, I think it is important to have people with science backgrounds—arguably now more than ever. And particularly when we are making healthcare policy, it’s critical to have people who have actually practiced medicine at the decision-making table.
2. What health-care related issue(s) have you advocated for over the past year?
As a physician, health policy has been a priority of mine. I was honored to serve as the Vice Chair of the HHS Policy Committee in the House. I authored a variety of healthcare-related bills and I’m proud that 80% of them had bipartisan authors. As an obstetrician, I have been very concerned about the disparities that exist in maternal and infant mortality in our state and I authored bills that advocate to address those. To that end, I plan to introduce a bill to expand MA coverage to 12 months postpartum so that new mothers have access to healthcare they can afford at one of the most vulnerable moments in their lives. I authored the Drug Price Transparency Act, which requires pharmaceutical companies to report the rationale for the prices of drugs that exceed certain thresholds. I also plan to continue to advocate for changing our mining permitting laws so that our state’s most precious natural resource—water—is protected for the health of people, land and wildlife.
3. What advice would you offer to others who are interested in advocacy?
I would encourage all physicians to consider getting involved. Our state needs your expertise beyond the walls of examining rooms and operating rooms! As the complexity of our world and its challenges increase, we need more people who are trained to think critically, who understand the importance of research and evidence and who have experience practicing medicine to get involved in the political process. I would encourage you to join a campaign and door knock, make phone calls, host a house party or volunteer in whatever way is easiest for you. Choose an issue that you are especially passionate about, go to the legislature and talk to your Representative and your Senator and educate them about it. And please consider running for office! Some of us like to think that we are not political, but politics—like it or not—determines a lot about our world and impacts most aspects of our lives. Most of us went into medicine to help people, and that is exactly what government is supposed to do. It is incredibly rewarding to enact positive change and to be involved with something that is meaningful to you. I urge you to get involved!
Past Advocacy Champions
- November 2019: Carolyn McClain, MD, EPPA
- October 2019: Renee Crichlow, MD, FAAP, U of M School of Medicine
- September 2019: Will Nicholson, MD, Family Medicine, St. John's Hospital
- August 2019: Lauren Williams, MD, Family Medicine, Voyage Healthcare
- July 2019: Carl E. Burkland, MD, Retired Physician, New Prague
- June 2019: Marilyn J Peitso, MD, FAAP, Pediatric Hospitalist, CentraCare, St. Cloud