It seems that pharmacists aren’t being paid, or paid quickly, under the new Medicare drug plan, and pharmacies are losing money.
And we’re surprised because……?
It gets worse. The Bush administration’s health plan to control health care costs is the same one Republicans have been using for years – price controls. The hospital DRG based payment system came out under President Reagan, the RVU based system for physicians came out under Bush senior, and now the Republicans are slashing and burning Medicare and Medicaid fees – again.
Well, the New York Times reported today that a group of Texas pharmacists – including one of Mr. Bush’s fundraisers – are a bit upset and met last week with the Karl Rove and other advisors about this very problem. In a report given to Rove, the pharmacists claim that most independent pharamcies are small business and vote Republican. They also reminded Rove that pharmacists can play a role in the upcoming mid-term elections.
“The druggists said many independent pharmacies might have to shut their doors because they were not being paid adequately or promptly under Medicare. In the last two months, they said, pharmacists have given away millions of dollars’ worth of medications for which Medicare drug plans should have paid,” wrote the Times.
It get’s better. Last month, Bush signed legislation cutting the Medicaid prices paid to pharmacies, and proposed further reductions in the 2007 budget. The Times reports that some critics called these cuts “immoral”, to which President Bush responded in a February 8 speech in Manchester, NH, “It’s not immoral to make sure that prescription drug pharmacists don’t overcharge the system.”
Three important things in healthcare: cost, cost and cost.