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Politics & Government

Bill Targets Prescription Reimbursements to Wisconsin Family Planning Clinics

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Tim Matsui/Getty Images
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A woman holds prescription contraceptives.

Interests intent on defunding Planned Parenthood defended two bills during a public hearing Wednesday at the State Capitol.

One bill would take federal funds away from the clinic. The second would reduce the state reimbursement to Planned Parenthood for prescriptions it provides, such as contraceptives.

Planned Parenthood and other family planning providers acquire drugs at discounted rates through Medicaid. But they generally claim higher reimbursements for them insisting a lot of services go into providing prescriptions, such as counseling and updating the patient’s health history.

Assembly Bill 311 would allow clinics to bill Medicaid only for the actual cost of the drugs plus a dispensing fee. State Sen. Chris Kapenga says the measure is about good oversight of state funding.

“We found a situation where somebody was over billing and we’re rectifying that situation. We want to make sure these programs remain viable. Resources are tight in this state. You’re talking about a lot of money and when the average person hears about the amount of overpayment, it’s significant to the normal person.” Kapenga says.

Kapenga didn’t cite specific numbers but says Wisconsin would save several million dollars if the bill passes.

One person who testified against it Wednesday is Beth Hartung of the Family Planning and Preventative Health Association. She fears the bill would devastate clinics throughout the state that provide reproductive health care for low-income people.

“This bill proposes that Medicaid would reimburse family planning clinics far less than what Medicaid already pays for-profit pharmacies. If Medicaid reimbursement is limited only to acquisition costs and a nominal dispensing fee, then clinics would suffer a financial loss each and every time they provide prescription drugs to patients and bill Medicaid,” Hartung says.

Hartung says she fears some clinics would have to close if the bill passes and people would have to go without affordable contraception and medicines for such ailments as sexually-transmitted diseases.

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