19 March 2010

GruntDoc is right

(I shouldn't taunt him like that, but I can't help it.)  I saw this post from GD and that reminded me that I had intended to blog about this sorta-local story but had forgotten:

Walgreens: no new Medicaid patients as of April 16

Effective April 16, Walgreens drugstores across the state won't take any new Medicaid patients, saying that filling their prescriptions is a money-losing proposition — the latest development in an ongoing dispute over Medicaid reimbursement.
It turns out that I don't have a lot to offer beyond the irascible Texan's observation:

Medicaid should be funded (or abolished); the current system isn’t actually fair to anyone.

Exactly my point from yesterday.  It's more generally also an indictment of the structure of Medicaid -- programs for the poor are poor programs.  If Medicaid beneficiaries could participate in the Medicare Part D drug benefits (presumably subsidized based on income) that would be a more sensible way to provide pharmacy benefits to the indigent.

Another annoying feature of Medicaid pharmacy benefits: that OTC meds are covered.  It drives me nuts when I get a request for a prescription for ibuprofen or tylenol.  I get the concept, but it doesn't seem to make sense in practice.


  1. Heh. Just because I didn't take your other bait...

    I agree it's stupid that Medicaid covers OTC stuff (same as the Navy; people who would wait for hours for their 'free' tylenol rx).

    Let's end Medicaid, and find a better (non govt) answer. What say you?

  2. Poor for the poor3/19/2010 8:16 PM

    I understand that a lot of pharmacies are troubled by Medicaid's minimal reimbursement, but I can't by-pass a chance to take a (cheap) shot at Walgreens, CVS, and the other big chains.

    As a cash-pay customer, why is it that Walgreens and CVS charge $80 for a GENERIC prescription that I can get at Costco (or Walmart, probably) for $5 - this is based on actual experience (in case you're wondering, of course I purchased the drug from Costco).

  3. I'm a pharmacist & for the Poor for the poor - you are getting a "lost leader" - they draw you in for the $4 generic, then have you shop .... and shop .... and shop.
    I get most of my transfers from these places because its so darn hard to get in & get a refill.

    As for the Medicaid - there are dual eligibles - both Medicaid & Medicare. They abuse the Medicare Part D even worse than Medicaid!!! They can actually choose to fill their rx with Prevacid for $3.30/90 days than the generic for $1.10/90 days. Why should anyone on government assistance even be given the choice?

    If one has an allergy or adverse reaction, there are processes in place. But, the abuse is RAMPANT!

    Additionally - most of my patient population are immigrants who have been deemed eligible Medicaid patients. So, they have also be assigned to a Medicare Part D plan at a significant reduced or no cost, get 90 day supply for $1.10 or $3.30 and still complain when they have to wait.

    I'm totally fed up. There should be a certain number of quarters of work which should make you eligible for Medicare. Otherwise, it should be Medicaid & bare bones - no OTCs, no benzos, sedative-hypnotics or "life style" medications.

    Yeah - I'm jaded!


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