Managed care threatens pharmacies
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As West Virginia's Medicaid program transitions to a "managed care" model, there's reason to believe the new system could result in a waste of taxpayer dollars and leave the state's independent pharmacists -- and their thousands of Medicaid customers -- on the outside looking in.
As the state plans to turn its Medicaid prescription drug program over to three out-of-state managed care organizations, it will likely face two new layers of increased administrative costs from managed care and pharmacy benefit managers who are armed with slick marketing and lobbying campaigns but no proof of cost savings to the state. Ultimately, that will cost the state money and inflate the cost of medications by increasing the role of pharmacy's middlemen.
Judging from results of managed care programs in other states, the new program will also force pharmacies to accept decreased reimbursement for medications. Since Texas transitioned to managed care in March, roughly 30 independent pharmacies have closed or been sold to retail pharmacy chains. When Kentucky transitioned to a managed care system in November, independent pharmacists experienced an 80 percent reduction in professional fees and draconian cuts to drug reimbursement. The new program in West Virginia will likely have a similar result, forcing pharmacies to close and reducing patients' access to care and medications.
To provide the state's Medicaid recipients with the highest-quality care possible and help improve our state's economy, legislators should keep Medicaid dollars in West Virginia, not ship them to three out-of-state managed care organizations.
Member, Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency
Gazette editorials insult our intelligence
I recently moved back to Charleston after being away for almost 30 years and I am astounded at the rabidity of the Gazette's editorial stance. Almost daily we hear the same old tired liberal canards such as the Republican Party being "the party of the rich" ad infinitum ad nauseam. We are frequently told how great Obama is, perhaps the finest intellect since Jefferson!
If there is any truth to the old saying about spinning in the grave, Mr. Jefferson must certainly be doing it.
But I think The Gazette hit a new low (at least in the last few months), in the editorial about DINOs. The piece quoted from a New York Times analysis stating that West Virginia probably will once again vote Republican for president this November. The Times article contained all the usual stereotypes about how backward West Virginians are and The Gazette then proceeded to add its own comments in agreement!