Pfluger Joins West Texas Colleagues in Defense of Rural Healthcare Access for Service Members and Veterans

Press Release

Date: Nov. 14, 2022
Location: Washington, DC

Representative August Pfluger (TX-11) joined two of his Republican colleagues from West Texas, Representative Jodey Arrington (TX-19) 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.

The DoD's move endangers reliable and convenient access to medications for West Texas service members and their families.

"This 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."

"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."

"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."

The new contract, which went into effect on October 24, 2022, would not only put large chains out of reach for service members 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 well-being of thousands of individuals that serve or have served the nation honorably.