Health Care Costs
Last week, my newsletter addressed the many concerns regarding child care in Iowa. We have a childcare dessert, childcare is sometimes unsafe and unregulated, childcare workers are underpaid yet parents struggle to afford the cost. There are many childcare bills filed and I will support those that are most likely to address the multitude of issues. I try to post all of my newsletters on my website at www.wesselkroeschell.com
Cost of prescription drugs and health care
During the interim, I talked to a constituent who retired but returned to work to pay for his insulin. A 70-year-old Iowan, should not have to work to pay his pharmacy bill. Some Iowans are rationing insulin, risking their health and life, so they can stretch their supply. Unfortunately, there are Iowans who have lost their lives due to insulin rationing. Iowans are also sharing insulin to help friends and family who cannot afford to purchase it on their own.
One pharmacist recently told me that 2-3 times a month a client is not able to meet a $100 copay. The economy is good for some, but many are still struggling.
This week, we passed a bill out of Human Resources, based on Colorado legislation that would cap the cost of insulin at $100 for a 30-day supply. This applies to those covered by private insurance and not Medicaid or Medicare. I have cosponsored a similar bill. Although this begins to address the issue of insulin, it does not address the high costs of other pharmaceuticals.
A pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) is a third-party administrator of prescription drug programs. For years, the legislature has tried to create legislation to control PBMs as they tend to put brick and mortar pharmacies out of business and increase the price of prescription drugs by accepting manufacturer rebates and not passing those savings onto the consumer. This is a “weedy” issue. I am working with State Rep. John Forbes, a pharmacist, on a bill to make sure that Iowans receive manufacturer rebates at the pharmacy counter when they pick up their prescriptions.
There are 1.3 million Iowans with a pre-existing condition. A federal lawsuit in Texas, has the potential to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
If the law is overturned, immediately, Iowans with a pre-existing condition such as vitiligo, multiple sclerosis, ADHD, and birth defects would lose their coverage. Insurance companies could either deny health care to people with pre-existing conditions or just raise their rates so high it becomes unaffordable.
I’m working with my colleagues in the Iowa Legislature to put new protections in Iowa law to guarantee Iowans can’t be denied health care due to a pre-existing condition.
Quote of the week: “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Robin Williams
Note: Thank you to the 26 constituents who joined me at the Ames Public Library last Friday for the Listening Post. The snow storm was in full force, so I was pleasantly surprised.
Here are other opportunities to share your concerns with me: League of Women Voter Forums (all start at 8:30 am) on February 1 @ ISU (Location TBD); March 7 @ Ames City Council Chambers; and April 4 @ Ames City Council Chambers.