States To Negotiate Rx Discounts For Low-Middle-Income US Residents Is Reasonable

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A billproposed by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) that would "allow uninsuredlow- and moderate-income adults to buy drugs at Medicaid prices" is a"reasonable idea," a Baltimore Sun editorial states. According to the Sun,several states in the past have attempted to implement such programs,but the Bush administration has declined to issue the necessary federalwaivers.

"It's still not entirely clear why," the editorialstates, adding, "Drug manufacturers strenuously objected to the ideabecause it would cut into their profits, and they have considerableclout in the nation's capital." Pharmaceutical companies might considersuch programs a form of "price-fixing, but it's just using the clout ofbulk purchasing," the editorial states, adding, "And making drugs moreaffordable is likely to broaden the market, so what companies lose inmarkup will be at least partially offset in sales volume." The Suncontinues, "At minimum, it's a concrete way to help working familieswho can't afford insurance and don't otherwise qualify for governmentbenefits." The editorial concludes, "Extending the Medicaid discountmight not be a cure for all that ails America's health care system, butit would be a prudent -- and affordable -- start" (Baltimore Sun, 8/1).
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Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserDaily Health Policy Report, search the archives, andsign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published forkaisernetwork.org,a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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