Wisconsin Assembly passes prescription drugs, health insurance bills

A plan designed to lower prescription drug costs in Wisconsin won final legislative approval on Tuesday and now heads to Gov. Tony Evers for his consideration.

The state Assembly unanimously passed the bill setting new requirements for pharmacy benefit managers. They negotiate prices with drug manufacturers on behalf of insurers. The bill, which passed the Senate in February and has bipartisan support, would require them to register with the state and submit annual reports with the state on rebates they receive from drug makers and whether those savings were passed on to customers.

The bill would also prohibit pharmacy benefit managers from not letting pharmacists tell patients about cheaper alternatives to their prescriptions. A similar measured passed the Assembly last year but was not taken up by the Senate. The Senate passed this year's version last month.

The Assembly also unanimously passed a bill that would guarantee people with pre-existing health conditions can't be denied insurance coverage. That's currently a part of the federal Affordable Care Act, but the bill would put that protection in state law in case the federal law is repealed or struck down by courts.

That measure has yet to advance out of committee in the Senate.

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