by Max Brantley
Lame-duck Congressman Marion "Good Riddance" Berry proudly unveiled his own health reform bill today. It's a stripped-down bill with some insurance reform and, among others, language tough enough on abortion funding that you have to wonder if it wouldn't inspire insurance companies working with government plans to get out of the abortion coverage business altogether. It's an affront to women, that much is clear.
Pharmacist Berry also has included a bunch of favors to small druggists. News release on jump from the small pharmacy lobby.
NEWS RELEASE NATIONAL COMMUNITY PHARMACISTS ASSOCIATION
Rep. Marion Berry (D-AR) has introduced H.R. 4813, a smaller health care reform bill that includes several provisions that strengthen the ability of community pharmacies to provide services to their patients. As a former pharmacist and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Community Pharmacy Coalition, Berry has been a leader in addressing the challenges that face community pharmacies and their patients.
H.R. 4813 would:
Exempt community pharmacies from the Medicare Part B Durable Medical Equipment, Orthotics, Prosthetics and Supplies (DMEPOS) accreditation requirement that threatens seniors’ access to diabetes testing supplies and other essential medical products
Expose the expensive, hidden costs imposed on patients and health plan sponsors by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs)
Provide reasonable pharmacy reimbursement (a federal upper limit of 300% of the weighted Average Manufacturer Price) for Medicaid generic prescription drugs.
In response, Bruce T. Roberts, RPh, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) executive vice president and CEO, issued the following statement:
“Congressman Marion Berry has been a champion for the concerns of community pharmacies. He understands the vital role they play in keeping patients healthy. More importantly, as someone who represents a rural district where community pharmacies are often the only local health care provider, he recognizes that the federal government’s policies must not endanger patient access to clinically trained pharmacists and their services.
“That is why we support the pharmacy provisions contained in H.R. 4813. As the leaders in the House, Senate and White House attempt to conclude their comprehensive health care reform efforts, we hope that they follow Berry’s lead. Pharmacists should be exempted from the ill-advised DMEPOS accreditation requirement. Those paying the bills deserve real transparency from the unaccountable PBM industry. Fair reimbursement levels for Medicaid generic prescription drugs will allow community pharmacies to continue offering those services to our most economically disadvantaged citizens.”