Insurers, Calif. Chamber of Commerce Oppose Bill Capping Drug Costs
Insurers and the California Chamber of Commerce have said they oppose a bill (AB 339) that would cap out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications, saying it potentially could drive up insurance premiums, the Sacramento Business Journal reports (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 8/17).
Details of Bill
AB 339, by Assembly member Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park), would place limits on how much health plans can charge enrollees for outpatient prescriptions.
The bill also would require health plans to use specific formulary tiers.
In April, the Assembly Committee on Health voted 11-5 to approve the measure (California Healthline, 7/9).
Details of Opposition
Mira Morton, a chamber lobbyist said, "Capping costs (to patients) is not going to solve" the high cost of specialty drugs for consumers. Instead, "[i]t shifts costs to the plans, and plans will shift it to premiums," Morton said.
She noted that premium increases among health plans probably would not be significant in the first year, but they likely would grow over time.
Meanwhile, Nicole Kasabian Evans, a spokesperson for the California Association of Health Plans, said bills aiming to cap out-of-pocket prescription drug costs do not provide "real solutions to curb unfettered drug pricing that could threaten access to important treatments."
Lawmakers are expected to take up AB 339 now that they have returned from summer recess.
The bill must be approved by the Legislature by Sept. 11 in order to go to Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who has until Oct. 11 to sign or veto legislation (Sacramento Business Journal, 8/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.