DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) – State Sen. Andy Manar, (D-Bunker Hill), will introduce legislation in January which he believes will eventually save Illinois taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Manar will seek to remove Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) from Medicaid, state retiree health and state group health plans. PBMs are the middleman between insurance companies and pharmacists and set the amount pharmacies are reimbursed for prescription drugs.  Independent pharmacies contend PBMs are driving up costs for consumers when they pay for their medications.

“The state can manage its own pharmacy program for Medicaid on its own at a fraction of the cost,” Manar told WAND News.  “That’s money I’d rather put into classrooms around the state instead of padding the pockets of PBMs.”

It is unclear how much money PBMs are taking in from those state insurance programs since the information is not available to the public in Illinois.  However, Manar points to Ohio, a similar size state, which has moved against PBMs and saved substantial amounts of money.

“The fact that it exists drives up costs of Medicaid to what I think is hundreds, I think hundreds of millions of dollars in Illinois,” Manar stated.

Manar said he believes he will be able to obtain bipartisan support for his measure during the upcoming legislative session.