Counties Support Establishment of Prescription Drug Affordability Board

On Wednesday, Natasha Mehu testified in support of HB 768/SB 759 Health – Prescription Drug Affordability Board.

This bill would create a state-level entity to tackle the pressing issue of excessive prescription drug prices through a cost review process.

From the MACo Testimony:

As employers, counties are also subject to the impacts of excessive prescription drug prices. Counties have a keen interest in being able to provide comprehensive health insurance coverage to their employees and their dependents at a cost that is manageable for both the government and their employees. While counties subsidize the cost of insurance offered to eligible employees, those employees still share a portion of those expenses through premiums, co-payments, and deductibles. Skyrocketing prescription drug prices make insurance coverage expensive for counties to provide and difficult for employees to access given their share of out-of-pocket costs.

HB 768/SB 759 would create the Prescription Drug Affordability Board to safeguard against unconscionably high drug prices. The board would be empowered to identify and review the costs of certain prescription drugs and set upper payment limits for those deemed to be either a past or potential future cause of affordability challenges. The board is required to consult with a stakeholder advisory group, consider a number of relevant factors, and hold public meetings regarding their reviews and decisions. This is not completely uncharted territory for Maryland as the state already has similar watchdog entities for hospital, insurance, and public utility rates.

For more on 2019 MACo legislation, visit the Legislative Database.

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