With primaries well under way and less than six months remaining until Election Day, the time is now for the people of pharmacy to make their voices heard.
This year, the 2022 Congressional elections have unique dynamics — with tight margins in the Senate and House of Representatives, a significant number of retirements and individuals seeking other office, and many states’ congressional maps changing due to the results of the 2020 Census.
The energy surrounding the 2022 election year presents an ideal opportunity to translate political energy into ever-higher levels of grassroots power — and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores is calling on its vibrant network of pharmacy advocates to achieve just that.
Since the start of the COVID pandemic, advocates have played a crucial role in telling pharmacy’s story. In fact, during the pandemic, the NACDS RxImpact grassroots advocacy program successfully recruited 42% more advocates to the effort. NACDS RxImpact includes a full array of programs designed to make a strong case for pro-patient and pro-pharmacy policies.
Although the U.S. Capitol remains closed to large-scale events such as NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill, during which advocates reach every congressional office in just over 24 hours, NACDS is focusing on other ways to continue to grow the comprehensive NACDS RxImpact program, and to coalesce pharmacy’s voice on priority issues. These issues include: direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fee reform; sustaining funding for COVID programs for uninsured Americans; extending pharmacy flexibilities under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act; and helping ensure Americans continue to benefit from pharmacy services during public health emergencies and every day.
Last month, NACDS RxImpact inspired advocates to contact 76% of the House of Representatives, urging co-sponsorship of the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act (H.R. 7213). This bipartisan legislation would safeguard patients’ access to pandemic services in pharmacies by establishing reliable billing pathways.
Earlier this year, NACDS RxImpact inspired more than one-quarter of all comments submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) about the Medicare Part D proposed rule that includes DIR fee transparency provisions.
NACDS RxImpact advocates from 47 states even sent thousands of letters to President Biden, to 94% of the entire Senate, to 72% of the entire House of Representatives and to 76% of the entire Congress urging the nation’s leaders to work together to help protect uninsured and underinsured Americans’ access to COVID-related care services.
It is important that pharmacy advocates, united through the NACDS RxImpact grassroots program, keep up this strong momentum, and continue to take a stand for better health care.
Just as critical is the need for advocates to get out the pharmacy vote. After all, it is the 2022 election winners who will impact pharmacy viability, accessibility and — critically — patient health.
A great way for advocates to make an impact is through NACDS’ nonpartisan get-out-the-vote initiative: NACDS RxImpact Votes.
A vital part of the overarching NACDS RxImpact grassroots program, NACDS RxImpact Votes helps the pharmacy community get ready for the election process by offering advocates everything they need to know about voter registration locations, volunteering for campaigns, building candidate relationships and voting on Election Day.
Pharmacy voters, Election Day is fast approaching.
And patients, the profession and the industry are depending on you to engage in the 2022 elections and support your candidates of choice.
So gather your information, get engaged and prepare for the upcoming elections. Your vote — and commitment to pharmacy — matter.
Let’s make 2022 the year of the pharmacy voter.
Steven Anderson is president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.