HD32 - Report of the Joint Commission Studying Prescription Drug Assistance

Executive Summary:

The 2001 Session of the General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution No. 810 (Appendix A) creating a joint commission to develop ways and means to provide prescription drug assistance to needy senior citizens and to coordinate state and federal programs providing such assistance. In conducting its study, the commission was requested to examine (i) the best ways to provide prescription drug assistance to those elderly Virginians who cannot afford to purchase such assistance on their own; (ii) the current scope of coverage, or lack thereof, in major programs including Medicare and Medicaid; (iii) proposed federal legislation and the most efficient manner in which the Commonwealth may coordinate its programs with future federal programs to provide prescription drug assistance; and (iv) such other matters as are relevant to the Commission's objectives.

After much deliberation by the commission and in consideration of the status of the state budget, the commission requested to be continued for an additional year. House Joint Resolution No. 90 of the 2002 Session continued the study and added additional responsibilities, including consideration of (i) the feasibility of strengthening the Commonwealth's pharmacy purchasing ability for state programs; (ii) using the savings generated to create and fund a pharmacy benefits program for low-income and uninsured elderly persons; and (iii) pursuing cooperative arrangements with other states to pool pharmacy purchases.