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NACDS hits Capitol Hill for RxImpact Day
June 17th, 2009
WASHINGTON – As the legislative battle for health care reform gets under way, today more than 150 pharmacy advocates from over 30 states descend on Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers as part of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores' first annual RxImpact Day.
The lobbying blitz, part of NACDS' new grassroots advocacy program, will enable senators and congressmen to hear directly from chain pharmacy executives and drug store professionals, such as pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, about the key roles they play in reining in health care costs and promoting consumer health. Pharmacy school faculty and state pharmacy association executives also are slated to participate.
Carol Kelly, senior vice president of government affairs and public policy at NACDS, said recently that meetings with about 160 congressional offices are expected.
The effort comes amid news that the cost of President Barack Obama's plan to revamp the nation's health care system could top $1 trillion, more than had been expected. In addition, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius this week talked up what may be the most contentious component of the president's proposal: a public health plan that would compete with those of private health insurers.
“Pharmacy plays a critical role in helping patients maintain their health and in keeping health care costs down and, therefore, should be a part of any health care reform package under consideration,” NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said in a statement. “We are very pleased that pharmacy advocates will be in Washington, D.C., during this critical time of debate on the most important domestic issue that impacts all Americans: health care reform.”
In their meetings on the Hill, the RxImpact delegation will urge legislators to consider such issues as medication therapy management (MTM), which can help reduce prescription drug and overall health care costs, as well as problems with the Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement system, in which pharmacies are being paid below cost for many drugs dispensed to Medicaid patients.