Cantwell measure targets hidden fees

Anyone who thinks prescription drug coverage costs too much should thank Sen. Maria Cantwell for her successful efforts to get an amendment adopted in the Senate Finance Committee’s health care reform bill. It targets the ballooning fees that pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) impose on patients and health plan sponsors.

PBMs have grown from drug claim processors to multi-billion dollar corporations who keep an inordinate amount of the money for themselves. In fact, PBMs like CVS Caremark, Express Scripts, Inc. and Medco Health Solutions, Inc., reported a 20 percent increase in profits last year. Increasingly, plan sponsors are beginning to catch on and are taking steps to reduce or eliminate their use of PBMs.

Without transparency, it’s impossible to judge what s going on. Cantwell’s amendment requires PBMs to provide basic information so health plan sponsors can make informed decisions. These requirements only apply to PBMs operating in the health insurance exchanges created by the bill, but is an important step.

Community pharmacies are grateful for Sen. Cantwell’s leadership, and patients should be, too.

Holly Whitcomb Henry, RPh

President, National Community Pharmacists Association

Seattle

More in Opinion

Daydream is over; GOP must work with Democrats on ACA fix

Editorial: The Senate should end its latest ACA repeal effort and continue bipartisan talks.

Editorial cartoons for Sunday, Sept. 24

A sketchy look at the day in politics.… Continue reading

Viewpoints: Who’s going to clean up Equifax’s mess?

You are, for starters. But there are things that credit agencies could do to secure your data.

Commentary: Include employee profit-sharing in tax reform

Tying corporate tax reform to profit-sharing would provide a fairer share for the middle class.

Commentary: Give retail marijuana balanced consideration

Retail sale of cannabis is up to Snohomish voters, and there are reasons to support it.

Robinson: The GOP’s health care proposals keep getting worse

It’s hard to find anyone who knows anything about health insurance who likes this monstrous creation.

Will: America’s engine is being slowed by complacency

The Great Enrichment is being superseded by the Great Flinch, a recoil against friction and change.

Parker: 25 years later, woman’s disappearance fresh in mind

Over the years, the work to find Dail Dinwiddie evolved into efforts to find and protect others.

Keillor: Voices in unison sing out our desire for common good

When you stand in a crowd and sing, it does pull people together.

Most Read