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Rx advocates debate health reform on Capitol Hill
June 19th, 2009
Rep. Mike Rogers (by desk) meets with pharmacy advocates during NACDS RxImpact Day.
WASHINGTON – On the same day the Senate Health Care Committee began marking up its draft health care reform legislation, more than 100 community pharmacy advocates met with legislators as part of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores' inaugural RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill.
The meetings were supplemented by about 1,000 letters submitted through NACDS’ RxImpact web site as part of a grassroots campaign to inform lawmakers of pharmacy’s critical role in containing costs and improving health care outcomes.
“NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill is the cornerstone event of the association’s newly launched grassroots advocacy program,” said Steve Anderson, president and chief executive officer of NACDS. “The timing of the health care reform debate could not afford a better opportunity for pharmacy to urge lawmakers to include pro-patient, pro-pharmacy policies in those discussions.”
In their meetings on Capitol Hill, participating NACDS members emphasized three key issues for the industry: average manufacturer’s price (AMP) pharmacy reimbursement for Medicaid; better benefits for medication therapy management (MTM); and reversal of the durable medical equipment (DME) requirements imposed on pharmacies by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under the Bush administration.
For example, in one meeting, Butch Bowlby, pharmacy district manager for Pamida Stores Inc., and Karen Jonas, director of professional practice for the Michigan Pharmacists Association, met with Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.). Both underlined the serious impact that failure to revise AMP reimbursement levels would have on pharmacies serving both rural and underserved urban communities in Michigan, thereby potentially reducing patient access to needed medications.