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MEDICARE ACTION ALERT

CONGRESS DEBATES NEW MEDICARE PHARMACY BENEFIT

MEDICARE ACTION ALERT - ACTION NEEDED NOW!

DO YOU WANT YOUR CONGRESSMAN TO BE ABLE TO SAY:
“I never heard from my local pharmacist, I didn’t know this was an issue.”?

CONTACT OHIO SENATOR DEWINE AND SENATOR VOINOVICH ABOUT S. 1 THE “PRESCRIPTION DRUG AND MEDICARE IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2003” and SPECIFICALLY IN SUPPORT OF THE ENZI-LINCOLN AMENDMENT.

AND CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE ABOUT H.R. 2473, THE “MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG AND MODERNIZATION ACT OF 2003.

BY THE JULY 4TH RECESS - AS SOON AS JUNE 27TH - CONGRESS WILL HAVE DESIGNED THE NEW MEDICARE PHARMACY BENEFIT!
The Senate has been debating their legislation and the full House is expected to begin debating its legislation TODAY. Both the Senate and House plan to complete their work by the end of this week-so time is short!

RECENT ACTIONS OF INTEREST INCLUDE:

SUPPORT THE ENZI-LINCOLN AMENDMENT... PLEASE CALL NOW!
Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) introduced an amendment today to establish pharmacy access standards and prohibit pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) from abusing their market power.
The Enzi-Lincoln amendment would require minimum pharmacy access standards that are at least as favorable as the Department of Defense’s TriCare program. (The TriCare program requires that at least 90% of beneficiaries in urban areas have access to a network pharmacy within 2 miles; 90% of beneficiaries in suburban areas have access to a network pharmacy within 5 miles; and 70% of beneficiaries in rural areas have access to a network pharmacy within 15 miles). The Enzi-Lincoln amendment would also limit PBMs from abusing their market power by prohibiting the PBM from requiring a pharmacy provider to participate in a non-Medicare prescription drug program network as a condition of participating in a Medicare prescription drug program network and vice versa. NO TIME TO WASTE... THE VOTE MAY OCCUR TODAY... CALL NOW!
Call 1-800-211-0916 and urge your Senator to support the Enzi-Lincoln amendment to establish minimum pharmacy access standards and prohibit PBMs from requiring participation in unrelated contracts to participate in the Medicare program.
HOUSE ENERGY & COMMERCE COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS:
Discount/Debit Card may be a fallback plan available after 2006 if private plans fail to participate in all areas.

SENATE AMENDMENTS ADDED DURING FLOOR DEBATE:
1) requires entities to disclose to administrator extent to which manufacturer rebates/discounts are passed on to beneficiary;
2) requires entities to allow beneficiaries to receive benefits (including 90-day supply) from local pharmacies. Beneficiary pays any difference in cost-sharing amounts;
3) facilitates generic medication entry to the marketplace; and
4) allows pharmacies, wholesalers and individuals to import prescription medications from Canada, however the Secretary of Health & Human Services must first certify that the practice will pose no additional risk to patient health and safety and that the practice will result in significant price reductions for consumers.

ACTION STEPS: SEND A MESSAGE TO CONGRESS - THERE’S NO TIME TO WAIT.
* Contact your Representative and each of your Senators; if the Member is unavailable, ask for their health “legislative assistant” dealing with Medicare.
* Thank them for addressing this important issue. “You’ve made a good effort to make sure Medicare beneficiaries have access to necessary medications.”
* Suggest that there are improvements that could be made to strengthen the proposals and thereby better ensure that patients receive the medications and services they need.

CONTACT OHIO'S U.S. SENATORS AT:

DeWine, Mike - (R - OH)
140 RUSSELL
SENATE OFFICE BUILDING
WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-2315
Web Site: www.dewine.senate.gov

Voinovich, George - (R - OH)
317 HART
SENATE OFFICE BUILDING
WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-3353
Web Site: www.voinovich.senate.gov/

The following link provides contact information for your U.S. House Representative:
http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.html

PLEASE ACT NOW!
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