ALEXANDRIA, Va. National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson hailed legislation endorsement letters from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as an indication that the damaging Medicaid prescription drug reimbursement rule is a top-tier issue that requires a Congressional response.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.
R. Bruce Josten, executive vice president, government affairs of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, sent letters on August 17 to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., and Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mont., to support their legislation in the Senate and House of Representatives, S. 1951 and H.R. 3140, respectively. Both bills would provide a legislative solution to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rule related to the Deficit Reduction Act. NACDS also has endorsed both bills.
"In the end, Congressional action is absolutely necessary to make possible the current level of vital pharmacy services available in low-income communities, including rural and inner-city areas," Anderson said back in July. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s letters describe the need for Congressional action to assure access to affordable prescription drugs, to help contain health care costs and to sustain the value of community pharmacy. The letters cite a Government Accountability Office report that shows the reimbursement formula will not cover community pharmacies’ costs for many drugs.
"If affordable medications are not accessible to Medicaid beneficiaries, decreased wellness could lead to devastating cost increases for beneficiaries, the Medicaid program and other payers," Josten wrote. Anderson, who also is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, lauded the letters of support, saying, "When Congress returns to session, it will focus on priority issues that demand action. This is a breakthrough moment that adds a major voice on a major issue. The statement is clear that fixing the CMS Medicaid rule merits action now for the good of patients, for the good of health care and for the good of community pharmacy."
NACDS also continues to work with other allied organizations, including the National Community Pharmacists Association and the Food Marketing Institute, to fulfill its pledge for an "all-branches, all-level government strategy" to fight for a remedy to the rule.