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Cotton Joins Colleagues in Introducing Bill to Help Seniors Served by Community Pharmacies

May 4, 2017

Contact: Caroline Rabbitt (202) 224-2353

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) today joined Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in reintroducing the Ensuring Seniors Access to Local Pharmacies Act (S. 1044) which will provide individuals on Medicare Part D more flexibility to choose pharmacies in their communities without paying additional costs. The bill was originally introduced in the 114th Congress.

"Seniors in Arkansas have come to rely on their community pharmacists after getting to know them for many years," Senator Cotton said. "We should give these seniors the same choices they've always had under Medicare."

Under current law, Medicare Part D plans permit any state board-certified pharmacy to participate in the plan's network, and the overwhelming majority of Part D plans have created separate preferred pharmacy networks. However, many community pharmacies are not included in preferred pharmacy networks within the Medicare Part D program. As a result, many seniors must either travel to a pharmacy that is in the preferred network or pay higher co-payments or co-insurance to continue using their local pharmacy.

The Ensuring Seniors Access to Local Pharmacies Act of 2017 would require that community pharmacies in medically underserved areas (MUAs), medically underserved populations (MUPs) and health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) be allowed to participate in Medicare Part D preferred pharmacy networks if they are willing to accept the contract terms and conditions of existing preferred providers. The bill will:

· Give seniors more choice when it comes to selecting a pharmacy,

· Allow community pharmacies to compete with larger providers and

· Preserve access to medical services in underserved areas.

Click here for a one-page summary of the bill.