Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
PBM Reform: David vs Goliath
There’s a true David vs. Goliath battle happening in state capitols across the country. And it greatly impacts my ability as a pharmacist to provide care in my community. Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs) increasingly insert themselves in patient care, diminish patient choice, and devastate pharmacies, resulting in an alarming wave of pharmacy closures across rural Iowa.
PBMs have operated in the dark with no oversight or regulation. PBMs use their immense power to shift dollars to their own out-of-state mail order pharmacies at the expense of Iowa pharmacies. These are dollars that should be invested right here in Iowa to strengthen our communities! PBM reform bills have been introduced this session in almost every state capitol to help level the playing field. These reforms not only give pharmacies a fighting chance to remain viable serving their communities, they also add drug pricing transparency and patient protections.
The Iowa House passed a PBM reform bill unanimously 96-0. The fate of this bill now rests in the Iowa Senate. Contact your state Senator and ask them to help the protect Iowans – pharmacies and patients – by passing PBM reform today!
Mylo Wells, PharmD
Owner Wells Hometown Drug, Bloomfield
County government fails when there is no public outreach
On March 29th the Henry County Board of Supervisors voted two to one to terminate all waste collection and recycling at the four rural sites near Trenton, Winfield, New London and Salem. Only the Mt. Pleasant site remains. This action was ill advised and poorly managed.
As background, for more than twenty years rural Henry County voters have supported the Local Option Sales Tax (penny tax) largely because it has funded the rural waste program. There is more than ample revenue generated from the penny tax to fund the rural site program.
The program is highly regarded by rural residents. Once significant ditch dumping and backyard barrel burning have largely ceased, rural roads have been beautified and citizens have taken recycling to heart, increasing the amount each year.
Two years ago, the contractor tried to convince the supervisors to let him back out of the contract. Citizen response was significant. The supervisors and contractor backed off.
The supervisors know of rural citizen interest in this program yet conducted no public outreach nor public meeting on this contract renewal. There was no reporting of it in the Union or the Hawk Eye. Obligatory legal notice minutes of meetings tucked in the Classifieds did not appear in the Union until after the decision was made. To suggest an agenda was posted on a website and a bulletin board is not public outreach. That is the response of a bureaucrat.
There is no record that any of the following questions were addressed:
-As gas prices continue to rise were residents in rural Hillsboro, Lowell, Mt. Union, Wayland and Trenton included in the discussion?
-The program is popular among rural seniors. How many were consulted?
-How much thought has been given to the likely return of ditch dumping and rural burning and the problems they bring?
-The landfill measures recycling – what will be the impact?
-Is it true the supervisors are influenced by business interests who see this as increased Mt. Pleasant shopping?
-Did the supervisors visit the sites and actually talk to patrons?
-Are there untold interests in other uses of the penny tax?
County government fails when there is no public outreach on important issues. That is what has happened here.
David Helman, rural Salem
What have our politicians done for us?
What have our politicians done for us? Since being in Iowa for the past 21 years, I haven’t seen anything done. From governors to legislators to senators and so on.
They sit up there in Washington and Des Moines, collecting their paychecks, wondering where to play golf next week. Nothing gets done about the “low income” people.
The only ones politicians worry about is the middle class and the rich. How often do you hear them mention the low class in their speeches? Never!
But even the “low class” has voting rights and do express that right.
My opinion is that “all” politicians should only have two terms in office, including governors. They should not be above the law.
Also, why hasn’t the minimum wage gone up? Illinois 2021, the minimum wage went up to $15 per hour. So why hasn’t Iowa’s gone up since 2009? Think about it!
Iowa transgender sports ban
I am writing to express deep disappointment in the Iowa Legislature and Governor Reynolds for enacting a sports ban on transgender girls. The articulated reasoning behind this law is that girls born as boys have a physical advantage and therefore, an unfair advantage. Although this may seem reasonable to the general public, I ask you to think past this reasoning. If you are unacquainted with the condition defined as “transgender”, it may seem unpalatable to you. However, once you meet a transgender person, you can accept that they are simply people like you and me. I suspect that there is an underlying agenda to why legislatures are banning transgender girls from sports. Whether that agenda is due to distaste or misplaced moral judgment, transgender persons are being bullied by these laws. Lawmakers say that transgender girls can participate if they play with kids of the same gender they were assigned at birth. Transgender girls would never feel comfortable playing with boys, and this law negates their feelings and identity, further marginalizing vulnerable young people.
Transgender people are not new, but more, brave trans people are telling their truth and becoming visible. With the help of modern medicine, it is possible for them to change their outward appearance to match the gender with which they identify.
Can you imagine knowing since you were a young child that you were a girl in a boy’s body? Feeling uncomfortable in your own skin? Knowing if you tell people, you are risking everything? The choice is not who you are. The choice is whether you have the courage to tell your secret and live into who you really are. If you tell, you are likely to face discrimination. All of this can lead to depression and suicide.
Since the Iowa Legislature of 2007 voted to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and sexual identity in school sports, there have been no complaints against transgender girls playing in Iowa. This was not really an issue until the legislature of 2022 made it so.
The research on trans athletes is extensive—too extensive to repeat here—but experts have ways to determine whether a transgender athlete has an unfair advantage. One conclusion is that variations in individuals such as strength, size, and ability are more significant than group differences between boys and girls. Our legislators and Governor don’t appear to have read any of the research before approving something that is detrimental to trans youth and to their schoolmates as well who are learning to exclude others.
What kind of society do we want to be? One that oppresses people who already have a difficult life journey or one which treats everyone with dignity? Why isn’t “participation” in sports deemed more important than “competition” for our youth? In school, aren’t we teaching about teamwork, challenging ourselves, working hard? I am ashamed that we are denying these opportunities to trans youth. This kind of decision and climate do not attract young people to our state.