Protecting patients, families, taxpayers and businesses from a nationalized health care system

Recent legislation in Congress targeting our pharmacy benefits would push our country closer toward a nationalized health care system – and our elected leaders in Washington, D.C. must put a stop to this.  

The policies in question are backed by “Medicare-for-All” advocates such as Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They want to take away the choice and flexibility so many  employers, especially small businesses, rely on to be able to offer high-quality, affordable prescription drug  coverage. In fact, pharmacy benefit companies help save employers and patients more than $600 per enrollee per year on prescription drug costs.  

Lawmakers supporting these measures want to place the government directly into our prescription drug markets, and this kind of government intervention will increase costs and stifle economic growth. Letting the government dictate what happens in our private markets is a slow mission creep toward a completely socialist healthcare system. 

As Joe Grogan – visiting fellow at the USC Schaeffer Center and former domestic policy adviser to President Trump – recently explained, either the private sector can negotiate prices in the commercial market – encouraging competition and driving prices down – “or you can have the government set the  prices (and call it negotiation).” While some have tried to cast aspersions on pharmacy benefit companies’ role as “middlemen,” Grogan pointed out they are “important intermediaries playing an undervalued role in the modern American economy. Sanders would rather place the government in this role.” 

Unfortunately, letting the government play such a heavy hand in our markets has never boded well for consumers. We need to allow free-market actors who encourage competition, such as pharmacy benefit companies, to do their job to drive down costs. 

Thankfully, Missouri Sen. Eric Schmitt and Congressman Eric Burlison are continuing to fight for us in Washington. Congressman Burlison has seen firsthand the savings realized by pharmacy benefit companies, explaining in a recent congressional hearing that, in his capacity as a board member at Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan, he had the responsibility of buying health insurance to serve over 100,000 people: “And you know what? When we did, we found that using a (Pharmacy Benefit Manager) dramatically drove down our cost for the entire group. I’ve heard testimony here that it’s a false choice, but I can tell you when you’re actually writing the checks, it’s not a false choice. It did save money. And so, it’s good to hear that there are  choices.”  

Similarly, Sen. Schmitt voted against the Pharmacy Benefit Manager Transparency Act in the Senate Commerce Committee earlier this year because, if enacted, the bill would let a government agency dictate the private dealings of businesses. 

I am confident our conservative leaders in Congress will continue to oppose misguided measures targeting pharmacy benefits and any other misguided attempts in Congress to expand the government’s authority and reach.  

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