Arrington Joins Republican Colleagues to Express Concern for Independent and Community Pharmacies
This week, Representative Jodey Arrington (TX-19) joined two of his Republican colleagues from West Texas, Representatives August Pfluger (TX-11) and Ronny Jackson (TX-13), in criticizing the Department of Defense (DoD) Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) decision to move forward with Cigna/Express Script’s reduced reimbursement plan.
“Independent and community pharmacies serve as the lifeline for thousands of servicemembers throughout our nation that have made a great sacrifice to earn their TRICARE benefits, including right here at home in West Texas,” said Rep. Arrington. “Less pharmacies participating in TRICARE diminishes access to healthcare in rural America and hinders small businesses across our country.”
The new contract, which went into effect on October 24, 2022, would not only put large chains out of reach for servicemembers and their families, but it would also cut roughly 15,000 independent and community pharmacies out of the TRICARE network. This policy will have a severe impact on the wellbeing of thousands of individuals that serve or have served the nation honorably.
“This predatory contract between DHA and Express Scripts will strip pharmaceutical access from TRICARE beneficiaries and jeopardize access to independent pharmacies for rural and underserved communities,” said Rep. Pfluger. “Given the number of TRICARE beneficiaries and local pharmacies negatively impacted by these reduced reimbursements, it is critical that Secretary Austin provides timely answers. Our military community deserves much better than this.”
“As a veteran and physician who represents one of the most rural districts in America, I know firsthand how much my constituents rely on local, independent pharmacies for their prescriptions. Servicemembers and veterans who live in rural and underserved communities already face challenges accessing the care they’ve rightfully earned,” Rep. Jackson said. “This decision only makes the problem worse, something I will not let slide. Our servicemembers and veterans deserve much, much better.”
Rep. Arrington has signed two letters on this issue, penned by Reps. Buddy Carter (GA-01) and Ralph Norman (SC-5) respectively, and remains committed to ensuring that servicemembers and their families in West Texas have reliable and convenient access to their medications.