NACDS Praises House Legislation to Delay Medicaid Cuts, Aid Pharmacies in Treating Patients

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House expected to vote on bill this evening.

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We thank you for your leadership on these issues and pledge to work with you to see that this bill is enacted into law this year. By delaying billions in Medicaid payment cuts to retail pharmacies – the so-called AMP cuts – your bill will prevent pharmacies from facing the untenable situation of having to accept below cost payments when serving low income patients

Today, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), endorsed a House bill, H.R.6331, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and

Providers Act of 2008, which contains several provisions of critical importance to chain pharmacies and the patients they serve.

In a letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-MI), NACDS President and CEO Steve Anderson acknowledged them for their commitment to pharmacy issues.

“We thank you for your leadership on these issues and pledge to work with you to see that this bill is enacted into law this year. By delaying billions in Medicaid payment cuts to retail pharmacies – the so-called AMP cuts – your bill will prevent pharmacies from facing the untenable situation of having to accept below cost payments when serving low income patients,” the letter stated.

“If allowed to go forward, these AMP cuts could result in the closure of 11,000 pharmacies, the loss of 300,000 jobs and a reduction of $31 billion in economic activity nationwide. This provision alone makes H.R. 6331 worthy of the House’s support.”

In the letter, NACDS also commended bill language to institute a program of electronic prescribing in Medicare, to help improve efficiencies and reduce medical errors in our nation’s health care system; and a prompt pay provision in the bill is also supported by NACDS to ensure that pharmacies in the Medicare Part D program are reimbursed in a timely fashion.

Additionally, NACDS applauded the decision to include language in the bill to provide a delay in the implementation of the competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment (DME).

“This delay will provide the time necessary to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries fully understand the program and that there are a sufficient number of suppliers to ensure that access to durable medical equipment such as diabetes supplies is not disrupted,” the letter noted.

“As we expect the bill to come before the House tonight for a vote, we encourage passage of this legislation to help ensure that our nation’s retail pharmacies can continue serving
millions of Americans every day.”

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) represents traditional drug stores, supermarkets and mass merchandisers with pharmacies. Its approximately 200 chain member companies include regional chains with a minimum of four stores to national companies. NACDS members also include approximately 1,000 suppliers of pharmacy and front-end products, and approximately 100 international members representing more than 30 countries. Chains operate more than 39,000 pharmacies, and employ a total of more than 2.7 million employees, including 118,000 pharmacists. They fill nearly 2.5 billion prescriptions yearly, and have annual sales of over $750 billion. For more information about NACDS, visit http://www.NACDS.org.

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