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Flowers: Pulling the curtains back on the Socialist Left’s Drug Pricing agenda

By Merle Flowers

Everyday citizens are looking at our lawmakers, now more than ever, to see who will do the right thing and put the American people first. We are relying on our Members of Congress to preserve the values on which our country was founded.

Unfortunately, it seems that certain Republican lawmakers are choosing to side with socialists like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when it comes to prescription drug pricing, even if it means moving our country towards a universal health care system. Luckily, I know Mississippi lawmakers will stand up for our free market and oppose such misguided policies. 

I’m talking about legislation targeting our pharmacy benefits – something that helps save 275 million Americans over $1,000 per person every year. The Left has labeled these bills as “drug pricing legislation,” but these policies actually do nothing to address prescription drug prices and will increase costs, making it more difficult for employers to offer affordable health coverage to their employees and undermine competition in the market. 

Certain critics have even gone so far as to blame pharmacy benefit companies for putting pharmacies out of business, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The pharmacy market is stable and the number of independent pharmacies have even increased in the last year, which is incredible for patients and their access to medication. Strong pharmacy networks are made up of small and big pharmacies, all working together to deliver savings and provide the best experience for patients. The more choices there are, the more competition we see, and prices are driven lower as a result.

Conservative economists have sounded the alarm on these proposals, and some have even analyzed the extent of the financial impact. University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan found that policies targeting performance-based incentives for pharmacy benefit companies to successfully secure savings from drug manufacturers would increase federal spending for Medicare Part D premiums alone by $3 billion to $10 billion annually. This is a clear example of how more government interference and undermining competition in the market increases spending. 

Joel Zinberg, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), also warned: 

PBMs are a pro-competitive creation of the free market for prescription drugs that improve consumer welfare. The advent and proliferation of PBMs suggest they provide value to all actors in the drug-distribution system. New market entrants and approaches will change the current market and further improve consumer welfare.

Congress should reject these new proposals which are more likely to make the market worse than better. The market for prescription drugs should be allowed to continue to evolve and become more efficient through negotiations among the market actors.

The best way to effectively reduce prescription drug spending, or any costs for that matter, is by encouraging more competition in the market and strengthening free market forces. Allowing the government to restrict, ban and dismantle the tools that pharmacy benefit companies use to apply downward pressure on prescription drug costs will be detrimental to patients, families and taxpayers, but also to our free society as a whole.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) even stressed that advancing policies targeting pharmacy benefit companies is just a maneuver by the Left to push a socialist agenda. He said: 

L”Like so many misguided policies in Washington, this bill may actually raise drug prices. If that happens, just imagine the outcry for a single-payer health care system with government price controls. Maybe that’s exactly what the left is betting on—that if drug companies have free rein, the American people will get fed up fast, and demand a socialist paradise. Let’s hope they don’t get their wish.

We certainly cannot let them get their wish. Now more than ever, our conservative lawmakers in Congress need to re-prioritize their focus to ensuring the Left doesn’t get their way and transform our nation into a government-controlled socialist society, and they can start by rejecting policies targeting pharmacy benefit companies.

This article is an op-ed piece provided by Merle Flowers, president of Flowers Properties, LLC and a former state Senator from DeSoto County.

Bob Bakken

Bob Bakken is the most recognized and most trusted name in DeSoto County news and sports reporting, as readers continue to express their appreciation for his accuracy and fairness in the stories he writes. Bob is also heard on 95.3 The Rebel twice a week with sports updates and high school football play-by-play broadcasts in the fall. A former newspaper editor and writer, his award-winning background also includes television news producing, sports media relations, and radio broadcasting.

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