Next week, the Virginia Senate Education and Health committee will be voting on a bill that would inappropriately insert government into the business operations of Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs). Despite the good intentions behind House Bill 2223, if implemented, it could result in unintended negative consequences for Virginians.

PBMs are private firms used to negotiate the amount pharmacies get reimbursed for prescriptions. While it is reasonable to scrutinize some of their practices (and the overall system as it currently stands) and some reform may be worth considering, it is of the utmost importance that lawmakers work to preserve the right of private contract.

HB 2223 fails to do this, allowing for government to set specific contract terms for PBMs and requiring “one-size-fits-all” reimbursements for different types of pharmacies. Unfortunately for Virginians, such government overreach would restrict some of the practices and tools PBMs use to reach optimal deals, potentially resulting in higher insurance premiums. 

In light of our serious concerns with HB 2223, Americans for Tax Reform is contacting supporters in Virginia to call their legislators and ask them to vote NO on HB 2223.

The best way to lower the price of healthcare is to embrace free market solutions, which allow for competition that improves quality, increases the number of choices available, and naturally lowers prices. Heavy-handed regulations, such as HB 2223, will only result in new problems.