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The Magnolia State Stands for...

The Magnolia State Stands for Competition, Free Markets and Access to Affordable Medication

By: Ken Strachan - August 31, 2023

Mayor Ken Strachan writes that the good people of North Carrolton, along with every other citizen of the Magnolia State, deserve and want a society free of unnecessary government intervention.

As the mayor of North Carrollton, I make decisions on behalf of our town with the people of our community at the top of mind. The good people of North Carrolton, along with every other citizen of the Magnolia State, deserve and want a society free of unnecessary government intervention. We also deserve lower prescription drug prices – which go hand-in-hand with a free market.

The current prescription drug market is muddled with anti-competitive forces that keep prices high and rising. On the other hand, we also have actors in that market working on behalf of patients, families and taxpayers, such as pharmacy benefit companies, that apply downward pressure in the market, bolstering competition and leading to lower costs. 

Without pharmacy benefit companies, prescription drug prices would only increase more than they already do, and the data supports this prediction. Research from the Congressional Budget Office and Government Accountability Office shows that hindering the ability of pharmacy benefit companies to negotiate against big drug companies would stick patients and taxpayers with higher bills, to the tune of tens of billions of dollars each year. Economic experts Ike Brannon and Anthony Lo Sasso point out that one such proposal considered in recent years “would have cost seniors and taxpayers $177 billion in higher drug costs.”

Along with lowering costs for patients and taxpayers, pharmacy benefit companies help employers, including small businesses, save more than $875 per enrollee per year. Health plan sponsors choose to hire pharmacy benefit companies because of these savings and the flexibility they’re able to provide when employers are designing their prescription drug benefits to fit their company’s needs. For all employers, especially small businesses – which are the very backbone of our entire economy – pharmacy benefit companies are instrumental. 

Yet despite this, certain lawmakers – unsurprisingly, socialists like Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – have taken it upon themselves to try and push various legislation targeting pharmacy benefit companies in Congress. Why? It should come as no surprise that these proposals are the latest effort to advance a ‘Medicare-for-All’ agenda. As former Trump policy advisor Joe Grogan explains, the proposals “would expand government interference in healthcare, pick winners and losers in the marketplace, and give Democratic lawmakers a political football to spike as we head into a presidential election cycle.” 

Grogan also points out that “the greatest threat to patient health and access to medicines is the Democrats’ push to nationalize our healthcare system, which would undermine the discovery, innovation, flexibility, and access to new medicines that make America the home of pharmaceutical discovery and innovation.”

Our own Senator Roger Wicker made the right call when he opposed misguided legislation targeting pharmacy benefits in the Senate Commerce Committee earlier this year. That’s because he recognizes these types of proposals fundamentally undermine competition in the marketplace, inevitably leading to higher costs. Healthy competition – not government intervention – is the most effective way to drive down costs, and we cannot allow the government to undermine that competition through new, burdensome mandates.

No lawmaker who says they understand the importance of free market and believes in limited government intervention would support these kinds of policies, and they shouldn’t. Our leaders in Washington representing Mississippians should open their eyes to this push from the far left to insert more government into our health care system and oppose policies targeting pharmacy benefit companies.

About the Author(s)
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Ken Strachan

Ken Strachan is the mayor of North Carrollton, Mississippi and serves on the Mississippi Municipal League Board of directors.