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Medicaid Cost Containment and Access to Prescription Drugs

States' Efforts to Contain the Rising Costs of Medicaid Prescription Drugs are Reducing Enrollees' Access to Needed Medications

May/June 2005
Health Affairs, Vol. 24, No. 3
Peter J. Cunningham

States have been intensifying their efforts to control rising prescription drug costs in their Medicaid programs. This study examines the effects of five Medicaid cost containment policies on enrollees’ perceptions of their ability to get prescription drugs. The results show that enrollees in states that have implemented all or almost all of these five policies have greater problems getting prescription drugs than enrollees in other states encounter. In terms of specific policies, prior authorization and mandatory generic substitutions had the largest effects on access to prescription drugs.

A free copy of this article is available at the Health Affairs Web site.


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The Center for Studying Health System Change Ceased operation on Dec. 31, 2013.