WASHINGTON Invoking a “cloture” provision, the Senate voted Wednesday to end debate on a funding bill for state Medicaid programs, and move forward on the legislation. The Senate’s move to unblock the bill immediately was endorsed by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.
Among its provisions, the bill would extend for six months the enhanced federal medical assistance percentage, or FMAP, as many Americans continue to struggle with job losses and health costs. In a statement, NACDS called the extension “necessary to prevent further cuts to pharmacy care.”
The FMAP program will expire at the end of 2010 without congressional action to extend it. The vote to close debate on the measure came largely along party lines, 61-38, with most Democrats supporting an extension of the funding.
NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson expressed chain pharmacy’s support for FMAP. “The budget situation in the states is dire at best, and this extension of the FMAP provision is necessary to help prevent further cuts to pharmacy patient care,” he said Wednesday. “Anything that hinders pharmacy access is counterproductive, because when patients do not take their medications correctly health suffers and long-term healthcare costs rise.”