Senate passes Medicaid extension bill

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The Senate has passed a measure to extend the federal funding level for state Medicaid programs.


The Senate voted 61-39 for the bill, pushed by the retail pharmacy lobby and an extension of the higher federal medical assistance percentage that was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The House will vote on the measure next week, and both houses must pass the bill in identical form before it goes to president Obama’s desk.



“This enhanced federal funding of state Medicaid programs is important for the prevention of additional cuts to pharmacy services and pharmacy access at the state level,” National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO Steve Anderson said. “Pharmacy access is vital to helping patients take their medications correctly, which is essential for maintaining patient health and preventing dramatic increases in long-term healthcare costs, particularly in the treatment of chronic disease.”



In addition to advocating on the bill’s FMAP provisions, the NACDS also lobbied on behalf of pharmacies on the bill’s alteration of the definition of “average manufacturer price,” inserted into the bill to help pay for it. NACDS said it had been advised that the AMP change was not intended to affect Medicaid community pharmacy reimbursement.



“Since the enactment of the new healthcare-reform law, NACDS has emphasized the importance of maintaining a proactive stance for pharmacy as the executive branch implements the law, as well as during any follow-up legislation,” Anderson said. “Ensuring that this definitional change does not impact pharmacy patient care will be a focus on NACDS’ continued vigilance on these issues.”


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