Rehberg Pushes for Hearing on Drug Benefit's Impact on Montana Consumers, Pharmacies
Montana's Congressman, Denny Rehberg, is urging the House Ways & Means Committee to hold congressional hearings examining the financial impact of the Medicare prescription drug benefit on pharmacies and their customers. Rehberg joined a bipartisan coalition of over 50 House members in requesting the hearing.
"Small-town pharmacies all over Montana play a vital role in giving seniors access to their prescriptions," said Rehberg, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. "For the most part, it appears the Medicare prescription drug benefit has been successful, but with any program of this magnitude, there will be kinks that need to be worked out along the way. With so many seniors relying on their local pharmacy for prescription drugs, the time is now to address how pharmacies can save money and avoid passing higher costs onto to their customers."
Rehberg and other members have expressed concern that during the recent Medicare hearings that the House Ways & Means Committee have held, only two of the 21 witnesses in attendance has been associated with pharmacies. The new Part D drug plan has financially stressed many small pharmacies due to the reimbursement policies it has implemented. Earlier this year, Rehberg sponsored two bills to help Montana's small community pharmacies better administer the new Medicare prescription drug benefit and provide Montana seniors with greater access to local drug stores.
"Congress has a responsibility to evaluate ways to further improve implementation of the drug benefit," added Rehberg. "Ultimately, the goal should be removing barriers to access for seniors and reducing the financial impact for pharmacies so they can keep drug prices reasonable."