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NCPA Statement Supporting H.R. 6331
Date:6/23/2008

Bill Includes Three Provisions That Protect Patient Access to Community Pharmacies

ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote tomorrow on H.R. 6331, a health care bill introduced by Ways & Means Chair Charles Rangel (D-NY). While the bill closely mirrors S. 3101 -- which received 54 votes last week in an attempt to achieve cloture -- a third provision was added that is also critical to ensuring continued patient access to community pharmacies. In addition, to speeding up the reimbursements for Medicare Part D claims and delaying cuts to Medicaid generic prescription drug reimbursement; H.R. 6331 includes a delay in the flawed Medicare DMEPOS (durable medical equipment, prosthetics and supplies) competitive bidding program. In response Bruce T. Roberts, RPh, executive vice president and CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), issued the following statement:

"The House of Representatives can improve America's health care system by voting for H.R. 6331. The bill strengthens patient access to the valuable services the nation's 23,000 independent community pharmacies provide patients by addressing three fundamental problems. It ends the practice of purposefully slowing payment of Medicare Part D drug claims. In addition, it delays the pending cuts to Medicaid generic drugs based on a wrong-headed reimbursement formula. Finally, it suspends the implementation of an unworkable DME competitive bidding program."

"While a similar bill is moving through the Senate, we are very grateful to Speaker Pelosi (D-CA), Majority Leader Hoyer (D-MD), Chairman Rangel, and Chairman Dingell (D-MI) for not only moving expeditiously on these issues, but for also adding the DME provision to this bill. Everyone should have the same goal, which is keeping patients healthy by having a system based on common-sense policies. H.R. 6331 goes a long way towards making that vision a reality."

The National Community Pharmacists Association, founded in 1898, represents the nation's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 pharmacies. The nation's independent pharmacies, independent pharmacy franchises, and independent chains dispense nearly half of the nation's retail prescription medicines. To learn more go to http://www.ncpanet.org.


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SOURCE National Community Pharmacists Association
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