Inside This Issue - News
Solution to Medicaid problem within reach
June 8th, 2009
WASHINGTON – One of the most notable achievements of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores has been its success in the ongoing battle to protect retail pharmacy operators and their patients from potentially devastating cuts in Medicaid reimbursements.
Together with the National Community Pharmacists Association, NACDS has convinced a federal court to grant a preliminary injunction forestalling the reductions and won a congressionally mandated delay in implementation until October 1.
Now, with health care reform viewed as a high priority on Capitol Hill and at the White House, NACDS has a good chance to dispense with the issue — which involves the shift from the average wholesale price to the average manufacturer price (AMP) of a medication as the basis for calculating pharmacy reimbursements — once and for all.
“We were exceedingly pleased to see that the options paper recently issued by the Senate Finance Committee included the issue of AMP price limitations, and a provision was made for addressing that in health care reform,” says Carol Kelly, NACDS’ senior vice president of government affairs and public policy. “That gives us comfort that Senators [Max] Baucus [D., Mont., the committee chairman], [Charles] Grassley [R., Iowa] and the rest of the committee members understand the importance of addressing the problem.
“On the House side, we’re working with chairman [Henry] Waxman [D., Calif.] and the Energy and Commerce Committee to urge that an AMP fix be included in the legislation there,” Kelly adds.
NACDS is hopeful that whatever bill is enacted will overturn pending regulations, under which pharmacies would be reimbursed at 36% below cost for Medicaid prescriptions. The association also that hopes new legislation will mandate a compensation model that recognizes the full value of professional services rendered.
“We remain encouraged that we’ll have a permanent solution to AMP as part of health care reform,” Kelly asserts.