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Alarmed by rising prescription drug prices, Massachusetts officials are seeking permission from the federal government to limit the number of medicines that would be covered by the state Medicaid program, which is currently required to provide coverage for all treatments.

In making their request, state officials argue they should be able to use some of the same tools that commercial insurers employ to contain costs. And they insist such a move is needed in order to preserve the larger mission of providing adequate health coverage.


“Since 2010, MassHealth drug spending has risen at a compound annual growth rate of 13 percent. If growth in drug costs continues at the current trajectory, it may crowd out important spending on health care and other critical programs,” Marylou Sudders, Massachusetts secretary of Health and Human Services, wrote in a Sept. 8 letter to the U.S. Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. MassHealth is the state’s Medicaid program.

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