Independent Thoughts


The Voice of Independent Community and Compounding Pharmacists 

The Alliance is directed by independent community pharmacists and is not obligated or tied to one single buying group or wholesaler. We are working to pass substantive legislation that makes a difference in your small business and community. 

Dec. 7, 2018

Alliance News

Alliance Attend NCOIL Annual Meeting in Oklahoma City this Week

Alliance CEO Audra Conwell, President Lee Ann Hampton, President-Elect Carter High and Board of Director Kelly Selby attended the National Council on Insurance Legislators' (NCOIL) Annual Meeting this week in Oklahoma City.

The health insurance committee's draft of a PBM Reform Model bill was up for discussion and vote. NCPA and other state pharmacy organizations have provided significant input into the draft and continue to encourage legislators to vote to approve a more aggressive version of the language. The bill was initially modeled after the Arkansas PBM Reform bill that passed earlier this year.

"Up until now, the prevailing that has been to focus regulations on the health insurer, assuming those regulations would cover the insurer's PBM, said NCPA CEO Doug Hoey. However, this line of thinking and lack of oversight has allowed PBM abuses to flourish. It's time for states to enact PBM-specific legislation, allowing insurance regulators to license PBMs and guarantee patient access to life-saving pharmacy services."

As previously reported, the Alliance has been working closing with Rep. Tom Oliverson, M.D., (R-Cypress), who is co-chair of the NCOIL health insurance committee, to draft a significant PBM reform bill in Texas. We continue to appreciate his leadership in PBM reform on the national and state level.

Alliance and NCPA Ronna Hauser and Anne Cassity went to dinner with Rep. Oliverson Thursday evening to thank him for his leadership on this important legislation.

The NCOIL Executive Committee will vote on Saturday on the provisions that will be included in the NCOIL draft legislation. 

Alliance Welcomes New Members

The Alliance welcomes the following new members.

Jason Saucedo
Roger's Pharmacy
Dumas, TX

Siobhan Atchely
Blanco Pharmacy & Wellness
Blanco, TX

The Alliance Welcomes New Sponsor and Member Service

The board and staff welcome Waypoint Financial to the Alliance family.

WaypointRx has developed the most comprehensive ecosystem for independent pharmacy owners to help ensure them the greatest personal, ownership, and financial success possible. This system can evolve and grow with the pharmacy owner, and is adaptable to help obtain the goal of thriving within the industry. The various components of the ecosystem include tools and guidance for finance, operations, profitability, talent assessment, 401k, and exit strategy. Let the team at WaypointRx show you how thinking different can enable you to have it all!

Alliance Attends Webinar on the Pharmacy Industry Outlook for 2019 this Week

Alliance CEO Audra Conwell attended the 2019 Pharmacy Industry Outlook: What State Associations and Pharmacy Stakeholders Need to Know webinar earlier this week. The webinar, hosted by Frier and Leveitt, outlined some of the challenges other state PBM reform legislation has encountered and their subsequent legal decisions.

As the Alliance continues to develop aggressive PBM reform in Texas, we will continue to seek feedback and input from those who have gone before us in other states.

National News

CVS-Aetna Merger Judge Tells DOJ to Slow down

NCPA reports, last week, Federal Judge Robert Leon scolded DOJ attorneys overseeing the deal for treating his review of the merger as a "rubber stamp," and reportedly told them "You need to slow this down." At a subsequent hearing this week, Judge Leon is reported to have said that he may require the merged firm to hold the CVS and Aetna assets separate until he has more time to consider the settlement," and scheduled another hearing for Dec. 18. The Tunney Act requires the merger to obtain final sign off from a judge. While the judge has raised questions and wants time to thoroughly review the details of the consent decree, most media outlets believe it is highly unlikely Judge Leon will ultimately block the merger. As part of the judicial review process, interested parties have until Dec. 17 to submit their comments on the proposed consent decree between DOJ and CVS-Aetna. NCPA and the Alliance will be submitting comments next week urging the judge to not approve the consent decree due to significant competitive concerns with the transaction that have not been addressed.

If you would like to submit a letter outlining your concerns, send to

The Honorable Richard J. Leon 
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
333 Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20001

Price Transparency May Require Pivot From Insurance-Based Health Care

Inside Health Policy reports, the Trump administration is pushing ideas that could improve health care price transparency but says those steps will be futile without changes that put consumers in direct control of their health spending. In a Monday report and subsequent remarks by HHS Secretary Alex Azar, the administration argues consumer reliance on third-party payers, including private plans and Medicare, shields consumers from the high cost of health care and is a significant reason health care costs continue to skyrocket.

The December 3 White House report makes a sweeping recommendation that all federal agencies do away with government initiatives that create barriers to price transparency and that the administration consider legislative proposals to empower patients shopping for healthcare to make direct payments to providers outside of their insurance.

"Boosting price transparency will likely have limited utility unless the dampening effect of third-party payment on consumer engagement is also addressed," the report says. It further argues that the current insurance-based system reduces the incentive for consumers to shop around, which results in low utilization of transparency tools.
In a Tuesday speech at the American Enterprise Institute, which focused on ways to reform the health system by increasing competition and choice, Azar stressed that the U.S. health care system is one of the costliest in the world.

"This is partly because patients have been removed from decision-making, insulated by third-party payment systems from any incentives that could drive down the cost of care. These third-party payment systems, especially government programs, pay for procedures, rather than seeking out value," Azar said while talking about the administration's new report.

The report says that Congress should make it easier for patents to pay directly for their healthcare by extending Health Savings Accounts to Medicare beneficiaries. Congress also should also allow for direct negotiations between Medicare beneficiaries and providers, the report argues, so that beneficiaries can choose services at a price that meets their budget.

Support IPRX PAC

We need your HELP building our Political Action Committee (PAC) funds! As we move into the campaign season we need your financial support of the independent pharmacist's PAC (IPRX PAC). We have several events planned to provide financial support and education to pharmacy and small-business friendly candidates and we need your support, so we can give to as many candidates as possible. Contribute Now!

 

Remember PAC contributions should be personal and not from an incorporated business.

 

 

 

December 5-8 
NCOIL PBM Meeting
Oklahoma City, OK

January 8
Texas Legislative Session Begins
Austin, TX

February 26
Pharmacy Day at the Capitol
Austin, TX 

 


 

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Your Staff

Audra L. Conwell, CAE
Executive Director/CEO
(512) 413-4088

Ashley Bishop, CPhT
Membership Director

Brittani Bilse 
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Honorable Jaime Capelo
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Robert Culley
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Independent Thoughts is the 
e-newsletter of the Alliance of Independent Pharmacists of Texas. 

P.O. Box 170323 | Austin, TX 78717 | (512) 260-7986  |  www.aiptexas.org