The Little Guy Gets a Hand

Small-town pharmacies are finally getting some help from big-time Washingtonians.

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Two House Democrats plan to join two House Republicans this week in a rare bipartisan move to help small-town pharmacies in their fight for faster reimbursements from the federal government's Medicare Part D program. Reps. Marion Berry, an Arkansas Democrat, will join Republican Reps. Anthony Weiner of New York, Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, and Jerry Moran of Kansas to form the Congressional Community Pharmacy Coalition, according to industry officials.

The coalition is to join the effort spearheaded by the National Community Pharmacists Association to give small-town drugstores a bigger voice in Washington, where the larger groups representing insurers and Medicare dominate. The main issue they plan to tackle is prompt payment through the Medicare program.

"Kudos to these members of Congress for seeing past the Washington partisan games and standing up for the small-business owner and its patients," said Lisa Camooso Miller, spokeswoman for the industry group.