Rx COSTS: Skeptical of Congress, States Address Issue
Lawmakers in 29 states said in a recent survey they intend to make prescription drugs costs a top priority this year -- reflecting keen voter interest and doubts about the federal government's ability to address the issue expediently, the Wall Street Journal reports. Most state efforts are likely to focus on expanding drug subsidies for the elderly and establishing bulk-purchasing programs to obtain discounts from manufacturers, although a few states may consider direct price controls (McGinley, 1/21). Already this year, legislators in Wisconsin and Minnesota have proposed plans that would extend prescription coverage to thousands of seniors (USA Today, 1/21). About 16 states already have drug-subsidy programs for the low-income elderly. "This is a populist issue in the states. ... [P]eople are struggling to pay for the prescriptions they need, and they feel that they need to do something," Lee Dixon, director, National Conference of State Legislatures' Health Policy Tracking Service, said (Wall Street Journal, 1/21).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.