In Wake of State of the Union, Pharmacists Remain Eager to Help Improve Health Care

President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, January 27. The president emphasized the economy, education, energy, health care, and national security. President Obama’s address was followed by a response from Governor Bob McDonnell (R, VA)—both speeches included a focus on the issue of health care reform.

Bruce T. Roberts, RPh, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) issued a statement in response and reiterated recommendations that would strengthen the role of pharmacists in health care. Roberts stated that although the state of the health care reform bill is still up in the air, both political leaders want to find solutions that work for the American people. “Community pharmacists have been engaged in this reform process from the beginning because, if properly utilized, we have been shown to help improve health outcomes and reduce costs. Whatever is decided by politicians in Washington in the coming days or weeks, community pharmacists remain eager to work constructively with both parties to find legislative remedies that improve health care in this country,” said Roberts.

NCPA’s 4 most pressing concerns have been addressed in the health care reform bills and require that Congress:

  • Create a fair reimbursement system for Medicaid generic prescription drug treatment
  • Exempt pharmacists from unnecessary accreditation requirements for the selling of medical supplies to seniors
  • Bring transparency to certain aspects of how the costly administrators of prescription drug plans, pharmacy benefit managers, operate so that plan sponsors, patients and pharmacists can make more informed decisions
  • Continue to strengthen programs like medication therapy management that have already proven their benefits to patients

According to Roberts, these items will ensure that pharmacists contribute to the health care system with a large impact.

General public response to the State of the Union address was measured by a CNN/Opinion Research Corp survey, which indicated that 48% of speech watchers had a very positive reaction (which was 20 points lower, however, than the response after President Obama’s February 24 address a year ago); 33% said they had a somewhat positive response; and 21% had a negative reaction.

Immediately prior to this speech, 53% of those surveyed thought that the policies being proposed by President Obama would move the country in the right direction. Americans must have been pleased by what they heard—after the speech, the percent of respondents who believed that policies were moving the country in the right direction increased to 71%. In addition, a little over half (55%) of respondents believe that President Obama has had the right priorities in addressing the nation’s problems.