FMI Wants Medicare Bill Passed

Discussion
Nov 21, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson


The Food Marketing Institute (FMI), representing grocery retailers and wholesalers, has called on Congress to pass the Medicare prescription drug legislature it is considering.


Tim Hammonds, president and chief executive officer, FMI, said in a released statement, “The bipartisan Medicare bill currently before Congress delivers choice, convenient access,
and affordable prescription drugs to seniors — especially to the low-income seniors who need it most.”


“This legislation allows seniors greater choice and convenience wherever they purchase medications. It enables them to fill long-term 90-day prescriptions at their local community
pharmacy. It saves them money by speeding the introduction of generic drugs — a needed change, especially in this time of spiraling drug and health care costs. And it stimulates
much-needed increased competition in the health care field.”


Moderator’s Comment: Should Congress pass the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill? Should pharmacy retailers join FMI in asking Congress to pass the bill.


No it shouldn’t and no they shouldn’t for a couple of reasons.


The first being Congress is under-funding the program. Estimates, we’ve seen, suggest Congress has only allocated about one-quarter the money needed to
cover prescription drug expenditures. If Congress is serious about this bill, then it should fund it properly. If it isn’t willing to fund it, then this is just another political
smokescreen.


The second reason is that it simply isn’t consumer friendly as supporters of the bill believe. There is nothing in it to provide an antidote for spiraling
health costs.


A prescription drug bill without a fundamental change in the U.S. medical coverage system is like boarding up the house when a tornado is coming. It might
look as though things are secure when all is calm, but as soon as the twister hits — kabloom!


Retailers shouldn’t be listening to their leaders on this one. They should be looking out for their customers. [George
Anderson – Moderator
]

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