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A Federal Safety Net Program Is Failing The Vulnerable Patients It Was Intended To Help

March 6, 2023

Imagine the federal government created a program intended to help poor and uninsured patients in underserved communities better afford the healthcare services they need. Then, imagine that same federal safety net program accomplished the very opposite, lining the pockets of healthcare providers rather than helping vulnerable people struggling to afford the medicines they rely on to treat and manage their conditions — all while Washington policymakers ignored their oversight duties.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s happening under the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which provides a powerful but regrettable example of a “great mistake,” described by economist Milton Friedman as a policy or program the government judges by its intentions rather than its results.

Originally established by Congress in 1992, the program was created to help healthcare providers that serve low-income and uninsured patients to purchase drugs at a discounted price. However, according to the federal government’s own reports and audits, many of the discounted prescription drugs that should be available to the nation’s most vulnerable patients are not being passed along — with patients either not receiving those treatments or not receiving the appropriate discounts for them.

Read the rest of the op-ed in Washington Examiner.

Naomi Lopez is Vice President for Healthcare Policy at the Goldwater Institute.



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