Current Events

Drug Rx on chartreuse-colored paper only…not lavender!

While a single payer universal health care system will likely increase equality in the U.S., it will also likely lead to gross inefficiencies. For example, see Monday’s USA Today (“Medicaid Drug Rule“). A new rule was enacted which attempts to reduces the amount of fraud in physician prescribed drugs. The law–whose backers claim will save the government $150 million–offers the following solution to the problem of Medicaid patient overuse of prescription drug: tamper-resistant paper.

Yes, the federal government is legislating the type of paper physicians can use to write prescriptions. According to the article, the law

“…requires that all non-electronic prescriptions for Medicaid patients be written on tamper-resistant paper…[doctors, pharmacists and patient advocates] warn that pharmacists could be forced to return Medicaid payments if they fill prescriptions improperly, and patients could be denied medications if the prescriptions aren’t written on tamper-resistant pads.”

This is one way that single payer systems can reduce costs: by making it more and more difficult for patients to actually receive the care they desire.