March 24, 2010
(Washington, DC) — Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) President and CEO Mark Merritt issued the following statement on today’s Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and District of Columbia Subcommittee on House Oversight and Government Reform Committee markup of the FEHBP Prescription Drug Integrity, Transparency, and Cost Savings Act (H.R. 4489). Currently, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) uses the same approach to pharmacy benefits as Fortune 500 companies, Medicare Part D, and other benefits programs which rely upon consumer choice and competition rather than price controls to hold down costs and maintain flexible benefits. In the bill, Congress would force the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which oversees FEHBP, to change the pharmacy benefits it offers:
“Seventy-four percent of those enrolled in FEHBP oppose a new effort by Congress to reduce pharmacy choices, arbitrarily set prices, and limit the number of pharmacy organizations which can participate in the program.
“FEHBP enrollees feel that OPM does a great job managing the program and think Congress is more likely to hurt than help the program by forcing OPM to change FEHBP’s pharmacy benefits.
“This was highlighted in a recent bipartisan focus group of FEHBP enrollees in Fairfax County, Virginia, who were deeply skeptical not only of the Lynch bill, but of the broader idea of Congress micromanaging how OPM administers the program.”