TheHill.com, May 2, 2011, by Sam Baker  —  States could save money on Medicaid benefits for prescription drugs through more aggressive price negotiations and patient tracking, according to a new report from the National Center for Policy Analysis. The report also suggests increasing the use of generic drugs and mail-order pharmacies.

The NCPA found wide variances in what state Medicaid programs pay for prescription drugs and also in the fees they pay to pharmacies. Some Medicaid programs pay higher fees to pharmacies than Medicare drug plans that operate in the same state. “State officials and state legislatures often yield to political pressure and set dispensing fees for conventional Medicaid programs that are often above (or below) what the market would normally compensate pharmacies,” the report says.

The paper also recommends better tracking of people who fill Medicaid prescriptions, which it says would help root out abuse and fraud. And it lays out a series of consumer-driven proposals states could consider, such as special savings accounts for health care and encouraging the use of mail-order pharmacies for patients with chronic conditions.

 

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