Reacting to Supreme Court's ACA Decision

Reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 28, 2012, ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act continues to be mixed.

John J. Castellani, president and CEO of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), issued the following statement: “We respect the Court’s decision and recognize that there will be ongoing policy discussions about the future of health care in America, and about the impact of today’s decision on the health care law. We will work with Congress and the Administration on a bipartisan basis to address these important issues and will continue to advocate for an environment that fosters medical innovation and access to new medicines. We will also continue to work for necessary changes to the Affordable Care Act, such as the repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).”

According to National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, "As we have said all along, healthcare reform remains a constant pursuit. With the Supreme Court’s decision today, the best approach for future progress continues to be saving lives, enhancing patient care, and reducing healthcare costs. NACDS and the pharmacy industry we represent have the power and potential to help achieve these goals. Because pharmacy patient care reduces costs and improves lives, NACDS also pursued the goal of enhancing the use of pharmacist-provided medication therapy management in the Medicare program to prevent the avoidable reliance on costly forms of care resulting from not taking medications as prescribed, and the goal of creating a Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement system that is more fair and accurate. NEHI has determined that Americans not taking their medications as prescribed are responsible for $290 billion in added healthcare costs annually. At the same time, the U.S. Surgeon General announced last year that 125,000 Americans die needlessly every year because they are not taking their medications as prescribed. This problem demands attention."

In particular, Anderson points out The Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2011 (S. 274) introduced by U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) and the Medication Therapy Management Benefits Act of 2011 (H.R. 891) introduced by U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Mike Ross (D-AR). "These commonsense bills can help patients understand the importance of taking their medications as prescribed, which can lead to improved health as well as lowering their healthcare costs."

Adds National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, issued the following statement:
“America’s health care system should be less costly, more efficient and drive better outcomes for patients. Pharmacists have shown, when properly utilized, that the aforementioned principles can be achieved through the medication counseling and other services they provide to millions of patients. During the health care reform debate NCPA played a constructive role in offering recommendations for provisions that could improve the care independent community pharmacies offer, with a premium being placed on maintaining access. We strived for more coordination with health care providers across the spectrum; reforms that embrace the free market ethos of fairness and transparency; reimbursement levels that take into account budget constraints for payors and are financially sustainable for providers; and ensuring that successful programs are embraced further. NCPA and its members will continue to work closely with Congress and the White House, in a bipartisan fashion, to offer common-sense solutions for the challenges we face for the remainder of this year and in the future."

Meanwhile, URAC, a healthcare accreditation organization, is gearing up to focus on driving quality as more patients gain health coverage. “The Affordable Care Act will dramatically affect consumer choices and insurance competition, increasing transparency and efficiency across health benefit plans,” said Alan P. Spielman, President & CEO of URAC, in a statement. “URAC’s health plan accreditation programs will help consumers get the best quality health care possible.”

URAC developed its Health Plan for Exchanges with Measures, which aligns with the nine components for accrediting health plans as outlined in the PPACA Section 1311 requirements for State Exchanges. URAC’s Health Plan Standards now meet all of these PPACA Requirements. Its accreditation programs focus on quality improvement activities that promote patient safety across the continuum of care:

  • Wellness and health promotion.
  • Care coordination.
  • Medication safety and care compliance.
  • Rewarding quality.
  • Care delivery through a patient-centered health care home network.
  • Mental health parity.
  • HIPAA breach requirements.
  • Measures – patient centeredness, coordination of care, patient safety, health plan administration.
  • Effectiveness of care, and health information technology integration.
  • Patient experience of care (CAHPS Survey).


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