Pharmacists on front lines for improved U.S. healthcare system, Clinton says

August 13, 2013

Hillary Rodham Clinton urged pharmacists to help exercise leadership when she spoke at the NACDS Total Store Expo in Las Vegas.

During the NACDS Total Store Expo on August 12, keynote speaker Hillary Rodham Clinton praised pharmacists for being on the front lines to help improve the U.S. healthcare system as well as to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Rodham Clinton, former secretary of state, former U.S. senator from New York, and former first lady, acknowledged that the ACA was not a perfect law and that its implementation would not be perfect either. However, she stressed, the act was “a landmark achievement for the Obama administration” and pharmacists will be instrumental in making it work by educating millions of uninsured Americans about enrollment.

Twenty years ago this month, via a satellite link to the NACDS meeting, Rodham Clinton had thanked pharmacists for being advocates for a common-sense approach to finding solutions to meet a host of healthcare challenges, including quality, affordability, and cost.

“I personally believe that if we work together and follow the example of many of you who are trying to figure out how to serve the people who come into your pharmacy and store every day, we will make progress together,” she said.

She recalled the difficulty with the implementation of Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit, and how instrumental pharmacists were to ensuring access for Medicare beneficiaries.

Now with the enrollment of millions of Americans under the ACA, starting in October, pharmacists will have greater opportunities to provide direct healthcare services to patients.

“We need to ask ourselves how we can replace our fee-for-service model with provider-led, community-wide care that can compete on quality and reward value over volume. These are difficult questions and we have been wrestling with them for over 20 years. If we work together and discuss and negotiate in good faith, we will find the answers,” Rodham Clinton said.

It will take leadership, not in Washington, DC, but in the private sector that is collaborative, innovative, and inclusive. Leaders need to decide that compromise is not a dirty word, she said.

“Each of you has a chance to help us find the answers and exercise leadership,” she said.