Pharmacist: Moving away from Medicaid Managed Care is the right move

To the Editor:

As a pharmacist and a former lawmaker and Minority Whip in the New York Assembly, I cannot overemphasize the importance of the pharmacy benefit changes going into effect on May 1. Moving from Medicaid Managed Care to Fee for Service is critical to ensure Medicaid patients receive the best, most affordable care. It is also critical to the survival of community pharmacists.

Community pharmacists have been more important than ever in the face of COVID-19. These trusted professionals helped to keep our community healthy with prescription medication and critical medical advice when our hospitals were overwhelmed.

Unfortunately, however, community pharmacies remain at risk. For too long, pharmacy benefit managers have taken advantage of their power in the marketplace, robbing pharmacies of full reimbursements and patients of rebates. Switching Medicaid from Managed Care to Fee for Service would be one important step toward reining in PBMs’ unfettered power.

Fee for Service would also reduce the cost of medications and increase access for patients. It provides full transparency into prescription drug costs, enabling the state more negotiation power that ultimately reduces costs. And reducing costs means fewer taxpayer dollars spent.

The move away from Medicaid Managed Care is the right move for New York. It will not only help patients and save tax payers money, but it will help our community pharmacists to stay in business and increase access to invaluable medications for all New Yorkers.

Sincerely,

DAN BURLING

Alexander, Genesee County

(Editor’s Note: Daniel Burling is a former State Assemblyman and the former Minority Whip. Currently. he is a pharmacist).

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