NACDS letter urges lawmakers to increase federal assistance to state Medicaid

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores Tuesday sent letters to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., chairman of the Committee on Finance Subcommittee on Health Care, and Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., Chairman, Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, expressing support for their legislation that would temporarily increase the federal medical assistance percentage to state Medicaid programs for the last two quarters of fiscal year 2008 and the first three quarters of fiscal year 2009.

“NACDS has long been an advocate of state Medicaid program initiatives to control prescription drug costs, such as increasing generic drug utilization and ensuring more appropriate utilization of higher cost brand name drugs when necessary,” said NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson in the letter. “We believe the 2.95 percent increase in FMAP would provide temporary relief to states’ budgets that are severely compromised by rising health care costs, and enthusiastically support this legislation.”

Increasing Medicaid costs are already impacting state budgets across the country. California’s, in particular, is facing $1.36 billion in budget cuts, which include 10 percent across-the-board cuts and proposals to cut many of their optional provider programs, according to the NACDS. The association has worked to educate state legislators about the impacts that the cuts could have on patient access to Medicaid prescriptions, and the potential increase in higher-cost healthcare utilization that would follow.

“We thank Chairmen Rockefeller and Pallone for their leadership in providing comprehensive health care coverage, including prescription medications and pharmacy services, to Medicaid beneficiaries,” Anderson concluded. “We urge the House and Senate to move swiftly to pass this legislation to help ensure access to prescription medications.”