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HHS DELAY IN IMPLEMENTING MEDICAID Rx DRUG REIMBURSEMENT POLICY CHANGES

Executive Summary

HHS DELAY IN IMPLEMENTING MEDICAID Rx DRUG REIMBURSEMENT POLICY CHANGES "in all regions," pending a proposed report by Congress' General Accounting Office (GAO), is sought by House Appropriations Cmte. member Bob Livingston (R-La.). He is urging House Appropriations Subcmte. Chairman William Natcher (D-Ky.) -- - whose subcmte. deals with HCFA appropriations -- - to include language, in a Senate-House conference report, directing HHS to delay the regional reimbursement changes until the House and Senate Appropriations Cmtes. have reviewed reports from both GAO and HHS "assessing the impact of these changes on Medicaid beneficiaries and small independent pharmacists." Livingston drafted language proposing a delay for a conference report dealing with the fiscal 1985 supplemental appropriations bill. Despite report language involving the same legislation by Sen. Mark Hatfield's (R-Ore.) Appropriations Cmte., HCFA "is continuing to notify various regions of impending reimbursement changes without following the normal regulatory process of assessing the impact of these changes on Medicaid beneficiaries or small independent druggists," Livingston wrote Natcher July 8. The Louisiana Republican added that "many questions raised about the fairness of the changes in drug pricing and their impact on small independent druggists and Medicaid beneficiaries have not been answered." Livingston's proposed conference-report language would direct GAO to report on the applicability to reimbursement changes of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, official publication of HHS proposals in the Federal Register and public-comment procedures. Livingston is a strong supporter of NARD's legislative fight against HCFA's efforts to deemphasize use of average whsle. price figures as the basis for reimbursement.

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