16 January 2010

More Medicaid under-reimbursement

Hey, Docs: Walgreens Also Says Medicaid Doesn’t Pay Enough - Health Blog - WSJ
Walgreens is threatening to stop filling Medicaid prescriptions at 64 of its 121 pharmacies in Washington state because of state cuts in payments.

Walgreens, the biggest drug-store chain in the country, has been down this road before. It threatened to pull out of Medicaid programs last year before settlements were reached in Delaware and in an earlier dust-up in Washington state.

This time, the chain says it is losing money on 95% of the brand-name drugs it dispenses to Medicaid patients in Washington, so it will end Medicaid participation at the 64 stores on Feb. 15.

Programs for the poor are poor programs. Medicaid should just be federalized and merged with Medicare.  Then we can deal with their costs together an in a realistic fashion.


  1. As often as all of you who treat big kids complain about reimbursement rates from Medicare, I would love to have Medicare reimbursement rates for 60% of my patients instead of Medicaid.

  2. Walgreens can always make up the difference in what it overcharges for generic drugs.

    Several years ago I had a prescription for Zofran #10 I wanted filled to have on hand just in case. I was getting all my meds filled at Walgreens. I took it there and they said it would be $230. I pointed out that it was out in generic. They said that is the generic price. The name brand price was $300. I took the Rx to Safeway and they gave me a similar story.

    I took the Rx to Target and they told me $28. Quite an amazing difference.

    I went back to Walgreens and asked to speak to the pharmacists. I told her that I only wanted the prescription as a luxury item to have on hand should nausea ever strike but there were patients on chemo or with other medical conditions who needed the medication.I told her I hoped if they came into Walgreens and they went away without the medication because they couldn't afford Walgreens prices that should would inform them they could get it at Target less than a mile down the street. She glared at me and said "thank you." but was not thankful at all. I am sure she did not intend to refer anyone there.


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