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Bill to let Kentucky handle Medicaid pharmacy clears Senate

March 1, 2018

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Senate has voted to take $1.68 billion of Medicaid money from pharmacy benefit managers and give it to the state to administer its own program.

Kentucky is one of 26 states that use private companies to manage their Medicaid programs. Republican Sen. Max Wise says the state’s independent pharmacies are struggling, despite the Medicaid program spending $1.68 billion on pharmacy benefits last year. About $1 billion went to pharmacies. The rest is unaccounted for, Wise says, because the pharmacy benefit managers won’t say what they did with it.

But state officials warn it would cost taxpayers at least $161 million more if the state were to handle pharmacy benefits itself. Wise said that’s acceptable if it means independent pharmacies in rural areas will get more money.

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