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Please contact legislators to oppose House Bill 1804 (pharmacy cost escalation)


The Arkansas House of Representatives House Insurance and Commerce Committee is considering a dangerously intrusive bill (House Bill 1804 – HB1804) that that would severely limit the ability of self-funded health plans, usually offered by the state’s large employers, to make prescription drugs more affordable for their members.

HB1804 places self-insured groups and governmental plans under the provisions of the state PBM (pharmacy benefits manager) Licensure Act, which established a single-rate system of reimbursement for each drug dispensed by every pharmacy in the state, regardless of the quality of services provided.

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield believes HB1804 will negatively impact the employers that sponsor self-funded health plans and the hundreds of thousands of hard-working Arkansans who depend on them. We further believe HB1804 will accelerate the escalation of healthcare costs in Arkansas.

Tools including protocols around prescribing and composition of pharmacy networks are used by most self-funded health plans and have been shown to be effective at helping health plans contain pharmaceutical costs.

HB1804 attempts to circumvent these widely accepted and clinically sound cost-containment approaches and injects inappropriate state intervention into private-sector business strategies and free-market dynamics.

We contend that this bill would benefit one segment of the healthcare delivery system – pharmacies (and by extension, profiteering drug companies) – at the expense of hard-working Arkansans. HB1804 would drive up the “out-of-pocket” costs of health plan members and ultimately could make the health plans on which they rely much less affordable.

Additionally, HB1804 seeks to place an added reporting requirement on self-funded health plans that is burdensome and intrusive. Self-funded health plans would be required to share negotiated contract information including rebate and payment details that, until now, have been considered proprietary and confidential.

Requested action: The House Insurance and Commerce Committee is considering HB1804 at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, 2021.  Please contact the committee members listed below before 2 p.m. on Wednesday and ask them to oppose HB1804 in its current form because of its increased cost on prescription drugs for all self-funded health plans.

Committee members:
Rep. Mark Lowery (Chair)     501-837-5221
Rep. John Maddox (Co-Chair)     479-394-6060
Rep. Fred Allen     501-804-7844
Rep. Justin Boyd      479-262-2156
Rep. Karilyn Brown     501-580-9000
Rep. Nicole Clowney     479-445-5337
Rep. Brian Evans     501-941-4002
Rep. Deborah Ferguson     870-735-7098
Rep. Kenneth B. Ferguson     870-413-8942
Rep. David Fielding     870-234-6143
Rep. Vivian Flowers     870-329-8356
Rep. Jimmy Gazaway     870-215-1243
Rep. Robin Lundstrum     479-957-1959
Rep. Reginald Murdock     501-940-5157
Rep. Clint Penzo     479-466-6681
Rep. Aaron Pilkington     479-308-8384
Rep. David Ray     501-916-0286
Rep. Jay Richardson     469-853-6963
Rep. Jim Wooten     501-858-7403