The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), a conservative tax group, has launched a multimillion-dollar campaign aimed at several Senate Republicans who have expressed support for reforming Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). Senators targeted by the CCAGW include Josh Hawley of Missouri, Katie Britt and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, Mike Braun of Indiana, and Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi.
CCAGW President Tom Schatz criticized the efforts to expand government control over the healthcare system, led by Senator Bernie Sanders, and emphasized the organization’s opposition to any legislation that would move the country closer to socialized medicine. The campaign by CCAGW will employ grassroots activism, online messaging, and other media outreach strategies.
PBMs, which act as intermediaries between pharmaceutical manufacturers and insurance companies to negotiate drug costs, have faced bipartisan scrutiny due to the rising prices of prescription drugs. Democrats, including Senator Bernie Sanders, have called for increased regulations on PBMs to address the issue. However, conservative groups like CCAGW argue that such restrictions would burden patients and increase costs for taxpayers.
CCAGW’s campaign includes a 30-second ad urging voters to dissuade their Republican senators from supporting PBM reform, linking the reform efforts directly to Bernie Sanders. The ad warns of Sanders’ plan to increase government control over pharmacy benefits, labeling it a threat to private health insurance and increased drug costs.
Sanders’ proposed legislation seeks to impose price transparency measures on PBMs and ban tactics that lead to inflated drug prices. Supporters of PBMs argue that these measures would hinder their ability to negotiate discounts. The PBM reform is part of a larger health package set to be discussed in the Senate this month.
While PBM reform has bipartisan support, Senator Hawley and Senator Tuberville have previously voiced concerns about the practices of PBMs. Hawley introduced legislation to lower drug prices, criticizing the current prescription drug market for favoring pharmaceutical and insurance companies at the expense of patients.
The CCAGW campaign highlights the ongoing debate surrounding PBM reform and the differing views on how to address rising drug prices and ensure affordable healthcare for Americans.