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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Washington State Cuts Needed Medicaid Drug Program

From the Columbian:

Cuts To Medicaid Threaten Real Pain

November 23, 2010

OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON-- [Excerpt] Debb Snyder's slender lifeline to independent living is her government-paid prescription for Klonopin, the expensive anti-seizure drug that controls her grand mal seizures and allows her to remain in her small apartment off St. Johns Road. She's been taking 0.5 milligrams of the drug six times daily for 20 years.

That's why it was intensely personal for Snyder when she saw the list of cuts to Medicaid programs the Washington Department of Social and Health Services is preparing to implement between Jan. 1 and March 1 to achieve its share of 6.27 percent across-the-board cuts in state agency budgets.

The department will eliminate coverage for outpatient prescription drugs provided by retail pharmacies to an estimated 277,000 clients, effective March 1. As a "discretionary" program under Medicaid, the prescription drug program is one the state has the option to discontinue while still maintaining its partnership with the federal government in providing health coverage to the poorest of the poor under Medicaid.

Drugs administered in a hospital, doctor's office or long-term care setting won't be affected by the cut.

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