The 2010 election changed the political landscape as Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives and in state governments, while Democrats face a narrower majority in the Senate. But what does it mean to community pharmacists trying to provide their patients with accessible, high-quality and cost-effective care?
As a member-only benefit, NCPA compiled a detailed analysis of the election results, including a committee-by-committee look at what it could mean for patients and the community pharmacists who serve them. NCPA members can log in and access the full report by clicking here. Excerpts from the report follow below.
The House of Representatives
Republicans took control of the House of Representatives with a pickup of at least 63 new seats in a convincing reordering of the political map. The Democrats picked up at least 3 seats making the 112th Congress at least 239 Republicans, 196 Democrats.
Pro-patient, pro-community pharmacy lawmakers returning:
We are glad to welcome back some of pharmacy’s champions next year to the House, such as Mike Ross (D-AR); Bruce Braley (D-IA); Anthony Weiner (D-NY); Lee Terry (R-NE); Jim Gerlach (R-PA); Peter Welch (D-VT); Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA); Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO); and Mike Rogers (R-MI). Congressman Marion Berry (D-AR), the only pharmacist in Congress, did not seek reelection. We thank him for all his tremendous help and support over the years!
Some long-time champions are leaving Congress, including Zack Space (OH), Earl Pomeroy (ND), Allen Boyd (FL), and Mike McMahon (NY), among others. We want to thank these Members of Congress for their long-term support. We look forward to working with the new Members of Congress from these districts.
Democrats will retain control of the Senate in 2011, albeit with a far smaller margin than during the 111th Congress. Republicans will likely hold 47 seats (with the Alaska race undecided – Republican Lisa Murkowski currently holds that seat and may retain it through an unprecedented “write in” campaign) and Democrats 53 seats (if the two current independents – Joe Lieberman (CT) and Bernie Sanders (VT) – continue as expected to caucus with the Democrats.
NCPA-backed Senators include Pat Toomey (R-PA), Dan Coats (R-IN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), John Hoeven (R-ND), Rob Portman (R-OH), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Chris Coons (D-DE).
Special congratulations to Senator-elect Jerry Moran (R-KS). As a Congressman, he was co-chair of the Congressional Pharmacy Caucus, and was also lead sponsor of the PBM Audit bill in the House, H.R. 5234.
We also want to congratulate Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) who won election to a full term. He sponsored an amendment during healthcare reform that would require a GAO study on the costs to pharmacies to dispense Medicaid prescriptions.
Implications for Healthcare Reform
On smaller, but important, issues there appears to be an immediate appetite for compromise, as the word “tweak” was used by both chambers’ leaders -Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker-elect John Boehner (R-OH). This will likely translate into a repeal or modification of the IRS 1099 reporting provision of the law, which unfairly burdens small businesses with onerous IRS reporting. (For more, see Averting a Compliance Nightmare for Independent Pharmacies.)
Regardless of the climate, NCPA will continue to work in as bipartisan a manner as possible to repeal or modify provisions that are harmful to our patients, our profession, and our small businesses, such as the 1099 reporting requirements, among others.