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Anderson: Industry Advocacy, Engagement Key to Healthcare Reform
Date:8/10/2009

nd a temporary increase in federal funding for state Medicaid programs, totaling $86.6 billion.

Now in the thick of the healthcare reform debate, Anderson urged continued focus on the task at hand.

"Our objective remains the same: to bring about as many of our Principles of Healthcare Reform as possible. There are three key pharmacy issues very much in play. These include reforming Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement, expanding the availability of medication therapy management - or MTM, and exempting pharmacies that sell durable medical equipment - DME - from the redundant and access-threatening requirements of accreditation and surety bonds."

Anderson also stressed that while we may not know what form the healthcare bill will take, we do know that one of the most critical priorities for the industry is to permanently fix the Deficit Reduction Act's (DRA) Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement cuts under the average manufacturer price model - or AMP - which is slated to reimburse pharmacies below cost for many generic drugs.

"The regulations to implement these cuts have been written. But they remain blocked by two mammoth victories: a legislative delay secured last year, which I mentioned, and a Court injunction, which was secured through a lawsuit by NACDS and NCPA. Every day these cuts are not in effect, $5.5 million in pharmacy cuts are prevented. From January 1, 2008, through September 30, 2009, $3.5 billion in access-threatening cuts will have been avoided. But, throughout, we have emphasized the need for a long-term legislative solution - an against-the-odds, up-hill battle against the DRA."

"We have to fight not only the policy of the Deficit Reduction Act, but also the flawed perception that it has created. Even though we have blocked the DRA temporarily, it continues to bite pharmacy. Every day, we are reminded that the DRA is a dragon that has yet to be slain."

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