NCPA Responds to President's 2011 Budget Proposal

Alexandria, Va. - February 02, 2010

President Barack Obama has released his budget proposal for the 2011 fiscal year. In response, Bruce T. Roberts, RPh, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) executive vice president and CEO, issued the following statement: 

"The President's budget proposal is the 'starting gun' of what will be a marathon-like process to determine the government's spending and policy priorities for fiscal year 2011. While we're still reviewing the wide-ranging proposal, some pharmacy-related provisions stand out:

  • The decision to shield entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid from the proposed spending 'freeze' should help preserve millions of patients' access to their community pharmacists.
  • We support the President's decision to allocate $25.5 billion to extend through June 2011 an enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage as states deal with surging Medicaid enrollment. It will mean improved health outcomes while averting the higher costs that can arise when patients seek treatment at emergency rooms for conditions that can be managed through pharmacist-delivered medication therapy management.
  • Demonstration projects to better coordinate care for Medicare and Medicaid patients, especially those with chronic conditions, appear promising. As the Asheville Project and other experiences have shown, community pharmacists are uniquely positioned to offer big contributions and cost savings in this area.
  • Community pharmacists can play a big role in the adoption of electronic health records. The new resources proposed for 2011 should support the local pharmacist's role in this transition.
  • New funds to fight waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid should be carefully focused. Otherwise, beneficiaries could have more difficulty meeting legitimate health needs, while little, if any, net cost savings occur. The problematic pharmacy accreditation requirement in Medicare's durable medical equipment program is a prime example.
  • Provisions to develop the Office of Personnel Management's prescription drug audit program, which includes audits of pharmacy benefit managers, should help beneficiaries and taxpayers reduce costs without compromising health outcomes.
  • We welcome the proposal of additional resources to accelerate the Food and Drug Administration's ability to approve generic drugs and biologics for use in the market. Community pharmacists have a long track record of maximizing the utilization of generics, when available.
  • We support proposals to incentivize the growth of small businesses, such as community pharmacies. Exempting investments in small businesses from capital gains taxes; expanding federally backed loan programs; and new tax credits to help encourage the hiring of additional employees are all welcome ideas. This will enable community pharmacies and other small businesses to further contribute to the U.S. economic recovery.
"NCPA looks forward to working with the Administration and both parties in Congress on these and other proposals throughout the budget process." 

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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