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Pharmacists Association Is Optimistic About Changes In Budget

Gov. DeWine speaks to reporters about vetoes
Karen Kasler
Gov. DeWine speaks to reporters about vetoes

Many of Gov. Mike DeWine’s 25 budget vetoes had to do with changes to Ohio’s Medicaid system. And part of that involves the two pharmacy benefit managers or PBMs the state uses as middlemen between Medicaid and pharmacists.

The budget tries to rein in overspending on prescription drugs by moving to one single state-controlled PBM.

DeWine said he’s ok with going to the single PBM but in his veto, he said he wanted more flexibility for the state Medicaid department to do that. Antonio Ciaccia with the Ohio Pharmacists Association said DeWine’s vetoes made sure there is more transparency in the system.

“I don’t think the legislature’s intent was to allow for secrecy but some of the wordsmithing of the language, looking at it, you could tell it would allow for a lot more things to be redacted than even in the current system," DeWine said.

Ciaccia said the big question now is how the veto will affect the $100 million in funds for pharmacists. The money was targeted to help smaller pharmacies with a lot of Medicaid customers that have been hurt by the price and reiumbursement structure used by PBM's.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.