PCMA, NCPA squabble over new study on Medicare bill

July 31, 2006

Medicare legislation sponsored by Reps. Marion Berry (D, Ark.) and Walter Jones (R, N.C.), known as H.R. 5182 or "the Medicare FAST Act," would increase Medicare costs by $55 billion over the next decade, according to a new analysis conducted by the Moran Co. and released by PCMA.

PCMA, NCPA squabble over new study on Medicare bill

Medicare legislation sponsored by Reps. Marion Berry (D, Ark.) and Walter Jones (R, N.C.), known as H.R. 5182 or "the Medicare FAST Act," would increase Medicare costs by $55 billion over the next decade, according to a new analysis conducted by the Moran Co. and released by PCMA. In addition, the study concluded that the bill would increase beneficiaries' premiums, cost-sharing, and out-of-pocket costs by more than $30 billion over the same time period. The study also found that the bill would mandate a minimum $14 dispensing fee for every generic drug dispensed through retail pharmacies under Medicare Part D, resulting in $58.1 billion in added costs to PDPs. It would also institute new timeframes for payment of Part D pharmacy claims and "rigid one-size-fits-all" rules for MTM programs that would add an additional $9.4 billion in costs to beneficiaries and Medicare during the same 10-year period. "The Berry-Jones bill is a recipe for higher prescription drug costs for seniors and the Medicare program," said PCMA president Mark Merritt. "The legislation might enrich pharmacies, but it would also force seniors to pay billions of dollars more in higher premiums, cost-sharing, and out-of-pocket costs."

Commenting on the study, Charles Sewell, senior VP for government affairs at NCPA, stressed, "This study really is a smokescreen because the PBMs don't want to pay pharmacists on time or for the services that they provide. They want to steal all the pharmacists' patients and move them to their mail-order operations to maximize their profits. This bill is extraordinarily important ... it's a matter of life and death for small businesses across America."

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