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House committee approves $10.64 prescription tax, stirring major concerns

In a notable development in the often dangerous tug of war between business and legislative overreach, the Alabama House Insurance Committee has passed a controversial bill that would implement a $10.64 tax on every prescription written. He gave the green light to House Bill 238. state. The move has sparked a wave of concern among stakeholders, saying it would impose a significant economic burden on Alabama employers, employees and their families, amounting to millions of dollars annually. .

The bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Phillip Rigsby of Huntsville, passed out of committee Wednesday despite growing protests from various quarters, including the Alabama Alliance of Health Care Consumers (AAHC). The group has been a vocal critic of the bill, highlighting its numerous shortcomings and the financial burden it would place on state residents.

The bill, dubbed a “pharmacy tax” by critics, would affect all Alabamians enrolled in pharmacy benefits through higher premiums or direct copayments at pharmacies. The proposed $10.64 tax on every prescription would represent an additional cost of approximately $275 per year per individual, or $1,100 for the typical family, and would significantly reduce the underlying burden of high drug prices dictated by manufacturers. increases health spending without addressing serious issues.

AAHC argues that the bill overlooks the core issue of rising drug costs and instead imposes higher costs on companies offering prescription drug insurance, which in turn inflates employee benefit costs. ing. According to the AAHC, this approach avoids significant drug pricing challenges and allows manufacturers to adhere to cost-plus pricing strategies, which inevitably trickle down to consumers.

Additionally, HB238 is considered a burden on employers, which could jeopardize the viability of employer-sponsored health plans and increase financial pressure on workers. Critics also argue that the bill fails to improve the quality or accessibility of health care and merely serves as a vehicle for the pharmacy industry to push through a set of previously rejected demands. are doing.

Another point of contention is the bill's potential to weaken consumer protections. By limiting the state's ability to investigate allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse, HB238 could falsely protect unethical practices within the pharmacy industry and disadvantage Alabama consumers and insurance companies. There is sex.

As the bill moves forward into the broader legislative arena, its implications are being scrutinized by stakeholders from all walks of life. AAHC remains firmly opposed and committed to fighting policies that drive up health care costs and impede access to affordable benefits, and recognizes this bill as an obstacle rather than a solution to Alabama's health care problems. Emphasizes the role.

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