Health Care Advocates Rip Brownback’s Prescription Drug Plan
January 27, 2016

(AP) – Health care advocates in Kansas are strongly criticizing a proposal from Republican Gov. Sam Brownback for decreasing prescription drug costs for the state’s Medicaid program.
They told the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee on Wednesday that the governor’s proposal could deny needed medications to people with chronic conditions and severe mental illnesses.
The committee took testimony on a bill eliminating the state’s ban on so-called step therapy with prescriptions in the Medicaid program.
In step therapy, patients are required to try less-expensive drugs first and have the treatment fail before obtaining more expensive prescriptions. Supporters say allowing Medicaid to use step therapy makes sense.
Brownback’s administration projects savings of nearly $11 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The state must close a projected $190 million budget shortfall.

McCaskill Calls for Missouri to Start Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
January 19, 2016

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill says it’s time Missouri joins the country’s other 49 states and establishes a prescription drug monitoring program.
The Senate’s Special Committee on Aging heard testimony Tuesday in Jefferson City about how to lower addiction rates for opioid painkillers and heroin.
State Rep. Holly Rehder (RAY-der) told the committee that Missouri’s lack of a monitoring program makes it a target for people from other states seeking as many painkillers as possible. The Sikeston Republican has introduced a bill that would create a monitoring program aimed at identifying potential drug abuse.
A House committee is scheduled to review the measure Wednesday.
State lawmakers have resisted enacting such a program for more than a decade because of worries about the security of a government database with medical information.