ALEXANDRIA, Va. — As the Senate gauges the House of Representatives’ bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the National Community Pharmacists Association has called for the retention of key pharmacy-related elements.
NCPA on Thursday said it sent a letter to the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and a 12-member working group of Republican senators that urged them to keep some prescription drug-related provisions as they modify the American Health Care Act (ACHA) legislation (H.R. 1628) passed last week by the House.
“Prescription drug coverage is an essential health benefit,” NCPA chief executive officer B. Douglas Hoey wrote in the letter. “Any meaningful drug coverage should include patient choice of pharmacy and access to face-to-face counseling with a community pharmacist they know and trust.”
In particular, NCPA said an overhaul of the ACHA should retain ACA provisions that address the following:
• Medicaid reforms must support patient access to medication and ensure reasonable pharmacy reimbursement that includes both a community pharmacy’s medication acquisition and dispensing costs (Section 2503).
• Expand patient access to community pharmacists to help manage chronic conditions (Section 10328).
• Increasing pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) oversight and transparency in federal health care programs (Section 6005).
• Maintain regulatory relief for small business community pharmacies (Section 3109).
“Prescription drug therapy is incredibly cost effective. It improves health outcomes and reduces much more expensive interventions, such as emergency room treatment, for patients with chronic conditions,” NCPA noted.
The letter also touched on such issues as prescription drug coverage in health care exchanges, pharmacy networks, an expanded role for pharmacists in the health care system, and prescription drug affordability amid rising costs.
Hoey offered NCPA’s assistance in devising provisions of the Senate health care bill. “Your legislative efforts carry major significance to millions of patients and the independent community pharmacists who serve them,” he concluded in the letter.