WASHINGTON Five pharmacy associations have submitted a letter to the Senate requesting the passage of a six-month extension of the temporary enhancement of the federal medical assistance percentage, which provides funding for state Medicaid and other health programs.
The American Pharmacists Association, the Food Marketing Institute, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations and the National Community Pharmacists Association sent the letter to Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate finance committee chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Senate finance committee chairman ranking member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.
Cuts in state Medicaid programs, potentially resulting in diminished access to medications and pharmacy services, could harm patients’ health and increase long-term costs, particularly those related to untreated chronic health conditions, the associations noted.
“While the [U.S.] economy has shown positive signs of recovering, state finances are expected to continue to suffer at least two more years, with state budget deficits approaching $180 billion,” the associations wrote. “Therefore, continued federal assistance to states at this time is critical as the recession has driven many Americans out of work, increasing reliance on state Medicaid programs. ... Without action by Congress, states will likely be forced to make further cuts to Medicaid and other programs, which could reduce access to critical healthcare products and services, including prescription medications and related pharmacist services, as well as increased taxes to meet their balanced budget requirements. These actions will create a further drag on the economy and may result in additional job loss.”