Blogs: News & Views

The Affordable Care Act and Pharmacies

Published Online: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
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We recently asked our audience of pharmacists the following question: “Do you think pharmacies should be educating patients about the Affordable Care Act?” As the ACA rolls out, starting with the health insurance marketplace that opens October 1, there will be many questions and specific concerns as each person reevaluates his or her own situation. It looks like it will be a bumpy transition for both health care professionals and the public.

Even as the steps are taken to implement Obamacare, there is still fierce debate about it. In late summer, a Washington Post headline read, “80 House Republicans Urge Boehner To Block ‘Obamacare’, Even If It Shuts Down The Government”—and the article reported that more than a third of House Republicans urged their leader to trigger a government shutdown rather than fund the implementation of the health care overhaul. A total of 80 Republicans asked Speaker John Boehner, R-OH, to resist any spending bills that would accommodate the new health care law, which is nearing the critical stage of signing up millions of Americans for health care coverage.

Additionally, the US Department of Health and Human Services recently announced a delay in the signing of final agreements with insurance plans due to technology problems, but says it is still on track to open the health insurance exchanges on time. When the new online marketplace opens, the federal government will have a hotline, website, and “navigators” to help people with questions. This sounds exactly like what critics of Obamacare feared—more government, more layers, and problems with the system even before it starts.

How much this will cost the economy is coming more into focus as well. For example, Delta Airlines is expecting its health care costs to rise dramatically because of the new health care law—as much as $38 million in extra costs and nearly $100 million next year. Business owners across the country, large and small, are taking measure to reduce costs to abide by the new rules, some of them by reducing hours and cutting insurance for workers’ spouses.

With all of this as a backdrop, pharmacists are going to be put in the position of having to explain the ACA and step in as more people enter the health exchanges. Pharmacy associations are hopeful that these circumstances will elevate the role of the pharmacist and pave the way for provider status as physicians and other health care providers are stretched. No doubt, pharmacists will be called upon for their expertise in medication reconciliation and patient adherence.

So, when we asked if community pharmacists should be educating their patients about the ACA, here’s what you said—Yes (63%), No (27%), and Unsure (10%). Hopefully, you will get the information you need about the health care law and the status you deserve in the coming months.
 
Thank you for reading!
 
Mike Hennessy
Chairman/Chief Executive Officer
About
Mike Hennessy, Chairman and CEO
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Mike Hennessy shares his views and perspectives on issues that affect pharmacists.
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ABOUT MIKE HENNESSY, President, Chairman, CEO

Mike Hennessy is President, Chairman, and CEO of MJH & Associates and Intellisphere, LLC, publisher of influential journals in health care, finance, and politics, including Pharmacy Times. Pharmacy Times is a clinically based, monthly journal providing practical information pharmacists can use in their everyday practice. Each issue contains articles and features covering medication errors, drug interactions, patient education, pharmacy technology, disease state management watches, patient counseling, product news, pharmacy law, and specialty pharmacy. Pharmacy Times is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) as a provider of free continuing pharmacy education.

As a businessman, entrepreneur, and publisher of magazines, iPad editions, projects, and Web sites that focus on the needs of health care professionals, Hennessy is intimately familiar with the challenges these professionals face every day in today's competitive practice environment. News & Views: Hennessy's Highlights dissects health care policy issues, the impact of pharmacy on national health care, and the critical issues that concern pharmacists as the new health care reform legislation is debated.

As publisher of Pharmacy Times, Mr. Hennessy launched the Next-Generation Pharmacist Awards in partnership with Parata Systems, to recognize the achievements of pharmacists in health care. "As the leader in pharmacy publishing, Pharmacy Times is shining a light on the critical role of the pharmacist in today's health care world and providing invaluable insight into the profession," Mike Hennessy, chairman, chief executive officer, and president said. "We are proud to recognize individual pharmacists in this 2nd annual awards program."

Pharmacy Times is published by Intellisphere, LLC, a leading provider of health care publishing, research, information, and education. Operating within both traditional and digital media channels, Intellisphere serves the needs of health care professionals through an extensive suite of magazines, journals, e-mail databases, Web sites, events and personal meetings. Intellisphere reaches more than half a million health care professionals through Pharmacy Times, Specialty Pharmacy Times, The American Journal of Managed Care, The American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits, MDNG, HCPlive.com, Oncology & Biotech News, Oncology Net Guide, Contemporary Oncology, and Oncology Net Guide: Nurses' Edition.
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