Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer has always been right at the forefront of the drug re-importation debate. In previous runs for Governor he highlighted the issue by actually busing senior citizens into Canada to purchase cheaper pills. A few weeks ago, Schweitzer sent a letter to the HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, calling for a waiver to allow Montanans on Medicaid and CHIP to get imported prescription drugs from Canada.

During this time of economic recession, states have made very tough choices to balance their human services budgets. There is one area where costs could be controlled without adversely impacting people who need health care. I am asking you to join me in my fight against unfair drug pricing by granting a Medicaid waiver allowing us to import prescription drugs from Canada for Montanans covered by Medicaid, Healthy Montana Kids (Montana’s CHIP program), our state employee health plan and our correctional systems. By allowing Montana to import medications from Canada we estimate we could save up to $40 million.

The Missoulian follows up on the issue today.

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer is still moving forward with his plan to import cheaper medicine from Canada, despite promises made in the health care reform recently passed by fellow Democrats in Washington D.C.

Schweitzer says the health care reform does far less than critics allege and supporters claim. He says prescription drugs will still be too expensive.

It’s impossible to counter Schweitzer’s argument. Indeed, it wasn’t so long ago that the Montana Governor was delivering the official Democratic radio address on this subject. The PhRMA deal in the Affordable Care Act has been universally recognized as ugly; just yesterday the AP credibly alleged that the drug lobby basically won out more than any other stakeholder. And even though Montana’s own Max Baucus can be credited with engineering the deal, Schweitzer continues to press for fair treatment for his constituents and a fair price for their medical care.

Good for him. No response yet from HHS.