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Senator Max Wise's Legislative Update: 14 Mar 2016
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By State Senator Max Wise, (R-Campbellsville)
16th District: Adair, Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Russell, Taylor, and Wayne Counties
As we enter the final weeks of the 2016 Legislative Session, we in the Senate Republican Caucus have been working diligently alongside Governor Matt Bevin on a budget proposal that will set Kentucky on a new course -- one that leads to greater prosperity and opportunity for our children.
Successive Democratic governors have time and again shied away from making the tough but necessary decisions that are our only hope of averting a financial catastrophe. We have accumulated $36 billion in unfunded liabilities, which is approximately an $8,268 debt for every man, woman, and child living in this state. That is why we in the Senate are working tirelessly to find ways to reduce waste and unnecessary spending in state government while protecting the investments we need to make for our future.
One example is a bill I was proud to sponsor, Senate Bill (SB) 117. In hometown communities across the state, independent pharmacists not only dispense needed medication but are also a trusted source of information and guidance for the personal health and wellness of thousands of Kentuckians. That is why I was troubled to find that these independent pharmacists have been consistently underpaid as a result of the unfair business practices of pharmacy benefit managers. PBMs are the middle men who connect pharmaceutical manufactures to insurance companies and the beneficiaries they cover. In many cases, local pharmacists lose money as a result of PBMs reimbursing them less than the cost of the medication. Some use a business model that relies on circumventing state laws to shortchange small businesses and has no place in Kentucky. This status quo is unsustainable, unfair, and a threat to the ability of independent pharmacists to continue serving our communities. To rectify this problem, I brought together pharmacists, PBMs and legislators to work cooperatively to achieve SB 117, which requires PBMs to follow the law in reimbursement pricing for medications. It also empowers the Kentucky Department of Insurance to enforce common sense regulations on PBMs, such as setting up an impartial, formal mechanism for PBMs and pharmacists to settle drug pricing disputes - all without increasing costs to the state or consumers. I am honored to champion this fight of the "little guy" against the corporate model. This bill is good for Kentucky's hometown providers, and I was honored to receive bipartisan support from my colleagues and the pharmacy community.
Additional legislation includes:
Once the budget comes to the Senate chambers, our main focus will be moving it forward before the end of the 2016 Session. The citizens of Kentucky have been promised a working, balanced budget, and we in the Senate hope to deliver on that promise soon.
This story was posted on 2016-03-15 06:17:24
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