Washington, D.C. – Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), a member of House Energy and Commerce Committee, joined her colleagues, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), to introduce the 340B Improvement Act of 2011 yesterday. This bipartisan bill would extend the 340B drug discount program to in-patient prescriptions – providing significant savings to patients, hospitals, the federal government, and state Medicaid programs.
“At a time when our nation’s hospitals are struggling to treat the growing number of uninsured and underinsured patients, we need smart, common-sense solutions to make health care more affordable and increase the quality of care,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers. “The 340B drug discount program is part of that solution because it already saves the federal and state governments precious health care dollars. Our bill will extend that program, benefiting over 30 safety net hospitals in Washington State and hundreds throughout the country.”
Since its inception in 1992, the 340B drug discount program has enabled eligible hospitals, community health centers and other safety net providers to access discounts on outpatient pharmaceuticals so they can continue to treat low-income and uninsured patients. Currently, the program only applies to outpatient prescriptions. The 340B Improvement Act would extend the discount to prescriptions obtained when a patient is admitted to a hospital.
“We commend Representatives McMorris Rodgers, Rush and Emerson for their strong support of our hospitals that provide the bulk of the nation’s charity care,” said Ted Slafsky, Executive Director of Safety Net Hospitals for Pharmaceutical Access (SNHPA). “Improvements to the 340B program will be of enormous help to our hospitals that are bound by law to treat every patient that comes through their doors seeking medical treatment.”
SNHPA is an organization of over 700 hospitals with a mission to increase the affordability and accessibility of pharmaceutical care for the nation's poor and underserved populations.