Skip to main content Back to Top

6/16/2003

Medicare Legislation Is Moving on a Fast Track

Kate Traynor

Late last week, the Senate Finance Committee approved, by a vote of 16-5, Medicare reform legislation which included a Medicare prescription drug benefit. While the Senate legislation does not yet meet the core principles established by the Pharmacy Benefits All Coalition, at this early stage in the process, we are working to amend those provisions that need further work. The legislation also includes several important policy moves that ASHP supports, including revisions to the payment formula for the hospital outpatient prospective payment system, a provision to lower inpatient drug costs for 340B hospitals, and a provision for the establishment of standards for electronic prescribing. ASHP will be working to enhance the coverage for medication therapy management services and those other services provided in conjunction with delivering and administering the drugs Medicare currently covers. The full Senate is expected to begin floor debate on these issues this week.

The House is moving just as quickly, with both the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee expected to consider Medicare reform legislation this week. Floor action in the House is expected to begin as early as next week, with final passage targeted in both the House and Senate before the July 4th recess.

ASHP will be calling on members for grassroots support as this important debate unfolds.