SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. John Connor, D-Lockport, continued to crack down on health care cost increases with his support of a new law lowering prescription drug prices and reining in pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).
“Everyone in our community deserves affordable health care, and too often, big pharmaceutical companies stand in the way of that,” Connor said. “Whether it’s by enforcing huge price hikes or concealing inexpensive generic prescription alternatives, they prioritize maximizing profits over keeping people healthy. This law is about combatting those unfair practices and ensuring Illinoisans have the care they need.”
Connor helped pass House Bill 465, which will curb skyrocketing prescription drug prices by creating comprehensive regulations for PBMs including requirements that they inform customers of cheaper prescription alternatives, comply with oversight from the Department of Insurance and pay fines of up to $50,000 for violating the Illinois Administrative Code in their bookkeeping procedures. The bill also protects the rights of patients in the emergency room by prohibiting any insurer from denying coverage until the patient is considered stable. Combined, these measures should help substantially lower the cost of health care in Illinois. The legislation received bipartisan support and is now law.
As the middlemen between drug manufacturers and pharmacies, PBMs set drug prices on behalf of insurance companies. Until now, they have operated with virtually no oversight even though they manage public money through Medicaid, as well as managing prescription programs for private insurance and self-insured plans.
“Good health is essential to living an full life, that’s why ensuring people have affordable medical care is a central part of my pledge to build a stronger Illinois,” Connor. “If a person, especially a parent or guardian, is living with a chronic illness without help, it can be draining on an entire family. For the sake of all our families, I will continue to fight for better health care in this community.”