Health Care Reform: Pharmacy Perspectives

An article published Monday on our sister Web site, HCPLive.com, generated a strong response from pharmacists on both sides of the health care debate. Many pharmacists, like physicians, are concerned with how HR 3590 will affect them—both as practitioners and as citizens. Following is a selection of those responses:

"We need health care reform but we don’t need the government getting bigger and spending money we don't have.”

- Pat Harvey, RPh

“An important 1st step in providing universal healthcare in the only industrialized nation that currently does not. Not nearly a perfect bill, and perhaps if there were more money spent on trying to fix the bill instead of killing it, it just might have represented a larger cross-section of our citizens. Now let’s make it work instead of working to kill it."

- Otto Wolke, RPh

“The passage of health care reform will be viewed years from now as the pivotal moment that saved the United States health care system. It’s not perfect, but it’s a far more positive projection than the current status quo that is a runaway freight train.”

- Laura, RPh

“Sadly, one of the most necessary ‘reforms’ is still being ignored—namely tort reform. The practice of defensive medicine is largely responsible for our escalating health care costs. Unfortunately, the trial attorneys are a major lobbying group. Who will have the courage to address this issue?”

- KMS, PharmD

“When there is a waiting period of weeks for MTIs, CAT scans, and PET scans; when it takes months to get on a surgical schedule for an arthritic hip, knee, or shoulder; when you are treated with NTG, dilators, etc. for that chest pain instead of a diagnostic and possible therapeutic cath lab intervention; when your renal failure is to the point of needing a transplant and you are told that is not an option for you; when there is no more innovation in medical technology and pharmaceutical research, let me be one of the first to say ‘I told you so.’”

- Ernest M Kraus, RPh

“This is a step in the right direction. It may not be perfect in its present form but it is definitely better than nothing at all. I’m grateful we have a president who is not afraid to take on the more difficult challenges and actually get something done for the American people.”

- Marta Morales, PharmD

“I am opposed to the current healthcare reform bill. I am opposed because of the price tag which will be imposed on our citizens by this bill. In addition I do not feel our government should be in the business of controlling healthcare; it is a violation of our Constitution. I also am opposed to federally funded abortions, which I believe will be included eventually in this bill. I will work with others to see that this bill is repealed by future legislators.”

- Fred Chamblee, RPh

“First, I hope the American people are ready for a hike in their insurance premiums as well as their taxes. Don't be fooled into thinking otherwise. Also, as a pharmacist, I can't help but foresee pharmacies closing everywhere and pharmacists out of work. The reason being that when the majority of people are forced onto the government-run plan, which will happen, it will walk, talk, act just like the Medicare/Medicaid system we already have, which doesn't sufficiently cover the cost of drugs as it is. In order to change this, drug manufacturers will subsequently be forced to lower their costs, which will deplete revenue needed for further development of future pharmaceuticals. Then who suffers? Everyone.”

- R.Anderson, Pharm.D

“I think the passage of this bill was an absolute necessity to begin to bring some reason to the provision of healthcare to this country. Those who argue that there will be rationing of health care evidently have not had to deal withthe health care insurers recently. Our health care is presently rationed and under the control of multi-million dollar salaried CEOs of the health care insurers."

- Harold Wolf, RPh

To read more pharmacists’ comments and to join the discussion, view the original article, "Is the Healthcare Reform Bill Bad Medicine for Physicians and Patients?"

For more information about pharmacy-specific measures included in HR 3590 and the reactions of pharmacy associations, view the Pharmacy Times Web exclusive, "Pharmacy Provisions Intact in Health Care Reform Bill."

For other articles in this issue, see: Pharmacists Key in Treatment of Hypertension

NCPA Initiative Targets Unsafe Drug Disposal

Survey Highlights Shifting Face of Pharmacy

Pharmacy Advocates Deliver Change