“Officials announced today that passing the Senate’s version of healthcare reform will end heart disease, cure cancer and increase every family of four’s net worth by $1 million dollars over the next ten years.”  And so it seems as one unbelievable claim after another is trumpeted as justification to launch this monstrous piece of legislation onto the American public. Frankenstein MonsterAnd like the Frankenstein Monster (huge, ugly, but really just misunderstood) this healthcare “thing” will be very difficult to kill once it has been given life.

Loyal readers may be wondering how pharmacy benefits will be impacted by this tale from the crypt (wait, is that Frankie or Harry Reid?). Here’s how:

Pharmacies will begin to restrict access by refusing to accept Medicaid payments. Walgreen’s announced today that they will no longer be accepting new Medicaid patients in Washington state after April 16th. 2011367936_walgreens18m.html Expect others to jump on board, both in other jurisdictions as well as other chains. With millions of newly eligible Medicaid beneficiaries, this will prove problematic, not just for getting scripts filled, but as a barometer of access problems in the physician provider community as well.

Employer plan sponsors will also begin to drop coverage as soon as they find out that the cost of continuing their programs far exceeds the penalty they will have to pay by opting out. Medical benefits as well as Rx plans, will be transferred to the The Insurance Exchanges that will be established to offer subsidized individual coverage for non-corporate plan participants, and who will ultimately drive private insurers from the arena.

What remains to be seen are the issues related to formalizing a program of pharmaceutical re-importation, allowing the Secretary of Health and Human Services the ability to negotiate prescription drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, or authorizing a regulatory pathway that will lead to FDA approval of generic biologicals.

What’s known is we will wind up with far less competition, reduced access, higher costs and a staggering, unsustainable new unfunded entitlement program!

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