Bill Text: NJ ACR117 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Urges US Congress and President to strengthen provisions of Medicare Part D.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2018-02-01 - Introduced, Referred to Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee [ACR117 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-ACR117-Introduced.html

ASSEMBLY CONCURRENT RESOLUTION No. 117

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 1, 2018

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  RAJ MUKHERJI

District 33 (Hudson)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Urges US Congress and President to strengthen provisions of Medicare Part D.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


A Concurrent Resolution respectfully urging the President and the Congress of the United States to enact a law strengthening certain provisions of the Medicare Part D program and preserving access to prescription medications by senior citizens and Americans with disabilities participating in Medicare.

 

Whereas, Certain health plans, particularly Medicare prescription drug plans, have selected specific pharmacies to be the plan's "preferred" pharmacy and patients in these plans must change pharmacies or pay higher co-pays to continue with their current pharmacy; and

Whereas, Many drug plans within the Medicare Part D program fail to meet the convenient access standards established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which has resulted in a lack of access in urban areas and, in less populated areas, patients may have to travel many miles to reach a "preferred" pharmacy; and

Whereas, Reportedly, many pharmacy providers are being unfairly excluded from participation within Medicare Part D pharmacy networks, even when willing to accept the network's pricing terms and conditions; and

Whereas, Community retail pharmacies provide specialized services to patients, including those for whom English is a second language, and these services are often excluded from "preferred" pharmacies as a result of current practices; and

Whereas, Community retail pharmacies and community pharmacists and healthcare professionals in their employ play a vital role in providing patient care to some of the most vulnerable and neediest populations, often being the most accessible form of pharmacy option to the patients they serve who cannot travel long distances or, due to privacy and other concerns, do not wish to receive prescription medications by mail; and

Whereas, A growing number of pharmacy patients may face onerous trips to access discounted co-pays at one of their Medicare drug plan's "preferred" pharmacies; and

Whereas, Medicare Part D should allow a patient to freely choose their pharmacies, based on their particular healthcare needs and preferences, and not based on a government entity or particular corporation's opinion about where such services should be accessed; and

Whereas, The United States Congress must enforce "Any Willing Provider" standards within the Medicare Part D program and allow all pharmacies who are willing to meet the terms and conditions of a pharmacy network contract to participate in that network without penalty or retaliation; now, therefore, 

 

     Be It Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of New Jersey (the Senate concurring):

     1.    The President and the Congress of the United States are respectfully urged to enact legislation which strengthens and clearly recognizes the existing "Any Willing Provider" provisions within the Medicare Part D program to allow for fair and equal participation for all pharmacies willing to provide needed medication treatments and healthcare services to the patients they serve.

 

     2.    Copies of this resolution, filed with the Secretary of State, shall be transmitted by the Clerk of the General Assembly and the Secretary of the Senate to the President and Vice President of the United States, the Majority and Minority Leaders of the United States Senate, the Speaker and Majority and Minority Leaders of the United States House of Representatives, and each member of the United States Congress elected from this State.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This concurrent resolution respectfully urges the President and the Congress of the United States to enact legislation which strengthens and clearly recognizes the existing "Any Willing Provider" provisions within the Medicare Part D program to protect access to prescription drugs by senior citizens and Americans with disabilities participating in Medicare.

     Currently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services require any sponsors of prescription coverage for Medicare Part D beneficiaries to permit the participation in the sponsor's Part D plan network of any pharmacy that is willing to accept the sponsor's standard contracting terms and conditions. These standard contracting terms and conditions must be reasonable and relevant, and meet accessibility guidelines.

     Health plans, which are sponsors of prescription coverage for Medicare Part D beneficiaries, establish networks of "preferred" pharmacies at which consumers pay lower fees and do not incur other out-of-pocket costs.

     Concerns have been raised by consumers and pharmacies that sponsors of Medicare Part D plans are changing "preferred" pharmacies without adequate notice to consumers. Individuals who have limited access to transportation are not able to fill their prescriptions in a timely manner due to a lack of access to "preferred" pharmacies. Additionally, pharmacies are being instructed to refer consumers to other competing "preferred" pharmacies to have their prescriptions filled. Legislation needs to be enacted that will allow for fair and equal participation for all pharmacies willing to provide needed medication treatments and healthcare services to the patients they serve.

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