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Medicare trouble brewing

Published on -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

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Medicare trouble brewing

As a local community pharmacy, I wanted to call attention to a troubling lobbying effort by big health care in Washington. Pharmaceutical companies and large chain drug stores are trying to continue to limit the coverage and benefits seniors with Medicare Part D plans have access to.

Regulators at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), who determine all rules and regulations in regards to Medicare Part D, are considering new rules that would expand pharmacy choice to those with Medicare Part D. However, opponents of the rule (the large chain drug stores) are misleading policy-makers and patients, and disregarding the value a community pharmacy provides.

CMS should allow any pharmacy that adheres to its standards to participate in Medicare's preferred pharmacy networks. In the past, our local community pharmacies have not been allowed the opportunity to become a preferred pharmacy with the majority of all Medicare Part D plans. Our health care industry must continue to embrace the critical role of local community pharmacies. CMS needs to be aware of the services seniors no longer would have access to if CMS doesn't allow the local community pharmacies the ability to compete with the large chain drug stores.

Our seniors must have the ability to choose their pharmacy by providing all pharmacies, local and large chains, the ability to become a preferred pharmacy network. It only makes good sense for our patients well-being and health.

Doug Stecklein,

U-Save Pharmacy, Hays

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