DRUGS FOR EVERYBODY

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FYI: With Governor Pataki’s plan to create a “preferred drug list” for Medicaid enrollees scuttled in the budget fight fallout, Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried introduced a bill this week that would expand Pataki’s idea beyond Medicaid, creating a new statewide drug subsidy program. Gottfried’s drug insurance plan would be open to anyone without prescription drug coverage as well as to private health plans that want more buying power–through its size, the plan could negotiate steeply discounted prices with drug companies. The state would then create a list of approved drugs for not only the new plan but also for Medicaid and other state health insurance programs. With few exceptions, doctors would need prior approval to prescribe anything not on that list. [5/23/03]