NEW YORK (NEWS10) – Over 40 state lawmakers in the Senate and Assembly sent a letter to Gov. Cuomo urging the Department of Health to repeal the Medicaid drug carve-out. The state’s plan to “carve-out” Medicaid prescription drugs will devastate 340B drug discount program providers.

The 340B program allows safety net providers to purchase discounted drugs and use the savings to provide essential services, like housing aid and food assistance, for low-income New Yorkers. Albany’s plan is scheduled to take effect on April 1.

The lawmakers say this comes on the heels of widespread opposition to the changes, and widespread agreement on the horrendous effects that will result if the changes are not reversed. They say that so far:

  • Six hospital groups, representing facilities across the state, have written to the Department of Health saying, “If allowed to stand, this massive policy and operational shift will jeopardize the solvency of critical healthcare services and programs for vulnerable and low income populations…”
  • Over 100 community-based healthcare and support groups have written to the Department of Health saying, “This new policy will provide little to no benefit to the state and will devastate patients and the safety net providers they rely on for care.”
  • A report by Menges Group found that the results of the change will have drastic effects on communities and will actually cost the state over a $1 billion over the next 5 years.

The letter to Gov. Cuomo can be read online.

In response, Jonah Bruno, Director of Public Information for the New York State Department of Health, had this to add:

As approved by the Legislature, State law calls for an April 1, 2021 implementation date. The Medicaid Redesign Team II proposal to move the Medicaid pharmacy program from managed care plans saves taxpayers millions of dollars by increasing transparency, ensuring Medicaid pays the best price for medications, and eliminating unnecessary administrative costs to health plans, all while ensuring that consumers continue to have access to needed medications. The Executive Budget allocates more than $100 million dollars a year in savings achieved through the carveout directly to 340B providers. Additionally, 340B entities will still be able to purchase medications at reduced 340B prices.”

Jonah Bruno, Director of Public Information for the New York State Department of Health