NCPA Supports Inclusion of Medicaid Funding in 'Jobs Bill'

Alexandria, Va. - May 20, 2010

U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin (D-Mich.) today announced the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act—economic stimulus legislation that includes a six-month extension of the temporary increase in Federal Medicaid Matching Rate (FMAP) that was enacted in the 2009 stimulus legislation and is scheduled to expire Dec. 31, 2010. In response, National Community Pharmacists Association Executive Vice President and CEO Bruce T. Roberts, RPh, issued the following statement: 

"Chairmen Baucus and Levin are to be commended for including this critical provision in their legislation. States are facing a crippling double whammy when it comes to Medicaid. Tough economic times have both forced more Americans to enroll in the public assistance program and sapped state revenues, creating budget shortfalls across the country. This funding would mitigate the need for devastating Medicaid cuts from coast to coast. 

"Community pharmacists are important, front-line health care providers for Medicaid recipients. In particular, independent pharmacies frequently care for an extraordinarily high proportion of Medicaid patients, often in underserved rural and urban areas. Independent community pharmacies also derive nearly all income from prescription sales, making them particularly at risk when Medicaid programs are cut. Ultimately, extending this funding and ensuring continuity in medication therapy should prove to be a cost-saver for the federal and state governments as patients receive treatment for their conditions far more economically then they could in emergency rooms or doctors' offices. 

"We strongly urge Congress to approve an FMAP extension as soon as possible. Many states are currently adjusting budgets for 2010 or writing budgets for 2011 so time is of the essence. 

"This legislation would also extend the 340B prescription drug discount program for uninsured patients to certain hospitals and other inpatient settings. We ask that Congress and the U.S. Health Resources Services Administration take appropriate steps to ensure that these limited taxpayer dollars are targeted where they are most needed—to uninsured and underinsured patients—rather than diverted for the benefit of those who already have prescription drug coverage, such as hospital employees and dependents." 

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 22,700 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent an $88 billion health-care marketplace, employ over 65,000 pharmacists, and dispense over 40% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.

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