Your AMAC Action Government Relations team hit the ground running in Washington, DC the week of June 20 with a packed schedule of meetings with lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill. Building on the momentum of the recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decision to investigate the business practices of the top six pharmacy benefit managers (PBM), which AMAC members helped to make a reality, the strategy for this visit was to complement this agency activity with Congressional action.
Fifteen meetings were held with Members of Congress and staff to seek co-sponsors for H.R. 1829, the Pharmacy Benefit Manager Accountability Study Act. This bill, which AMAC supports, would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the role PBMs play in the pharmaceutical supply chain and provide Congress with appropriate policy recommendations on how to increase transparency, improve competition, lower costs, and bolster efficiency in their operations. This bill would be an ideal accompaniment to the FTC’s efforts to lower prescription drug costs by examining the anti-competitive business practices of PBMs.
Meanwhile in the Senate, the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee also acted on PBM transparency during our week in DC by voting to move S. 4293, the Pharmacy Benefit Manager Transparency Act, out of their committee and on to the Majority Leader for consideration for a floor vote. Again, AMAC members were instrumental in this action as they answered an after-hours call-to-action and sent approximately 10,000 messages to the Senate compelling them to support this legislation within 14 hours of the Committee vote. AMAC is also on record as supporting this bill.
The team also worked to generate co-sponsors for H.R. 7831, the Helping Everyone Access Long Term Healthcare (HEALTH) Act. This legislation was envisioned by AMAC’s late founder Dan Weber to provide better access to quality healthcare for Medicaid and CHIP recipients while allowing primary care and other physicians to voluntarily practice charity care in their own offices. It is a bill that AMAC wholeheartedly supports.
We encountered great anticipation and enthusiasm during our DC visit about the potential shift of power in Congress as we wind our way through the primary season and into the mid-term elections. The Members of Congress we met with are confident, organized, and preparing for the execution of a legislative agenda that should look much different than the one the Democrats are imposing on America today.