PA healthcare reform is on PACE

    A measure expanding Pennsylvania’s prescription drug benefit program has cleared committee less than a month after being proposed by Governor Rendell.

    A measure expanding Pennsylvania’s prescription drug benefit program has cleared committee less than a month after being proposed by Governor Rendell.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090623sdpace.mp3]

    The measure expands the PACE and PACENET programs by tweaking the commonwealth’s financial dealings with pharmacies and drug manufacturers.

    Rendell says it’s a quick way to get cheaper drugs to more seniors, but critics argue the measure is more complicated than the administration would admit.
    For instance, Minority Chair Tim Hennessey, a Chester County Republican, says he’s troubled Aging Secretary John Hall referred to the average wholesale price of drugs as an arbitrary amount, but a portion of the bill’s funding formula relies on that figure.

    Hennessey: If it really has no meaning, then let’s not put it in the bill. Let’s not hold it as a club over the pharmacist’s head, saying ‘hey we’re going to use what we admit is an artificial number, then take an 80 percent discount off of that, and then pay you less than you actually paid of pocket.’ No business in Pennsylvania or anybody can long survive losing money like that.

    Hennessey and other Republicans say the measure is being rushed through the General Assembly, and complained no hearings had been held before the vote.

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