Cutting Medicaid drug coverage is no way for Alabama to save money

Joseph O. Dean Jr.

By Joseph O. “Joe” Dean Jr., Ph.D., former dean of the McWhorter School of Pharmacy at Samford University.

As a retired pharmacist and pharmacy educator, I am extremely troubled by the current issues regarding Alabama Medicaid and some of the proposals for addressing them.

A recent report from the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama sheds much-needed light on the fallacies of certain cost-saving proposals – specifically, the idea of balancing the Medicaid budget by cutting adults’ prescription drug coverage.

You might as well try to balance the education budget by eliminating the first- and second-grade.

Eliminating drug coverage would indeed save money upfront. But it would ultimately cost much, much more.

The reason is simple: When chronically ill people don’t take their medicine, they get sick. They are far more likely to end up in emergency rooms and hospitals. They are more likely to require expensive procedures, surgeries, and care.

Are there legitimate concerns and horror stories about the price of some medication? Absolutely. But as a rule, when medication is prescribed and taken properly, it is one of the most cost-effective ways to keep people healthy and reduce other spending for health care.

This has

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