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ACCP Report - December 2012

Washington Report

Advancing Provider Status Through the ACCP Political Action Committee (ACCP-PAC)

Written by John McGlew
Associate Director of Government Affairs

Perspectives on the Outcomes of the 2012 Election

For more than a decade, ACCP’s No. 1 advocacy priority has been to secure payment for pharmacists’ services under the Medicare program. We firmly believe that seeking recognition for the defined services of qualified clinical pharmacists delivering patient-centered, team-based, and quality-focused care is the correct approach toward meeting the needs of patients and fulfilling the mission of the Medicare program (see the lead story in this issue of the ACCP Report). However, we also understand the magnitude of the task we face.

The College is fully committed to pursuing this effort, but our success depends on the support and engagement of ACCP members. Political contributions are an essential component of our advocacy toolkit, helping to raise our profile on Capitol Hill and show support for members of Congress who share our vision for the role of clinical pharmacists in an evolving Medicare program.

The ACCP-PAC depends entirely on the support of ACCP members. Although many PACs represent various segments of the pharmacy profession, ACCP has the only PAC dedicated to advancing the practice of clinical pharmacy. With more than 13,000 members eligible to contribute to the PAC, ACCP is in a position to become one of the most prominent pharmacy PACs in Washington. To do this, we need the widespread support of our membership. If each ACCP member contributed just $25, the ACCP-PAC would raise $350,000.

All ACCP members should consider donating at least $25 to the ACCP-PAC. CLICK HERE to learn more about your PAC and making a contribution.

The Current Legislative Landscape

As negotiations inch forward about how to address the budget deficit and avert the economic catastrophe of crossing over the “fiscal cliff,” the nation remains fundamentally divided on the issues of taxation and government spending. Although Democrats have long called for increasing taxes, particularly on the wealthiest Americans, many Republicans have pledged to oppose all tax hikes.

However, beneath the surface, an unlikely consensus exists on the issue of entitlement reform. Both parties are beginning to publically recognize that Medicare and Social Security, in their current forms, are on an unsustainable path. And both parties agree that protecting the long-term integrity of these programs is a priority.

Of course, clear policy differences exist between the two sides on what constitutes a path to sustainability for entitlement spending. But when faced with slashing benefits to seniors or shifting costs to beneficiaries and states, lawmakers agree that the solution will lie in efforts to reform Medicare payment and care delivery models.

Progress toward reforming payment and delivery models is well under way through the work of the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC) and in provisions authorized under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These include the development of accountable care organizations (ACOs) and patient-centered medical homes, initiatives to improve quality in the area of transitions of care, and other programs focused on achieving the administration’s “triple aim” of better care for patients, better outcomes for populations, and lower overall health care costs.

The importance of “getting the medications right” as part of health system reform has been increasingly recognized by health care stakeholders and policy-makers as essential to protecting the future of the Medicare program. The involvement of qualified clinical pharmacists, as part of interprofessional health care collaborations, can help achieve this goal.

The ACCP-PAC Governing Council

The ACCP-PAC is directed by the PAC Governing Council, which provides oversight and strategic leadership for the operations of the ACCP-PAC.

The ACCP-PAC Governing Council consists of the following ACCP members:

Chair:                          Leigh Ann Ross, Pharm.D., BCPS

Treasurer:                    Gary R. Matzke, Pharm.D., FCP, FCCP

Secretary:                    Michael S. Maddux, Pharm.D., FCCP

Member:                      Anna Legreid Dopp, Pharm.D.

Member:                      Terry Seaton, Pharm.D., FCCP, BCPS (Board of Regents Liaison)

ACCP funds the administrative expenses associated with operating the PAC, so all member contributions go directly to support pro-clinical pharmacy candidates.

2012 Election Outcome OverviewThe Presidential Race

Amid the frenzied campaigning and barrage of political advertising, one historical oddity seemed to define the nature of the 2012 presidential campaign—that no Republican has won the presidency without winning Ohio. Although eight states in total made up the battleground in which the election would be decided, Ohio’s 18 Electoral College votes were considered vital—symbolically, historically, and mathematically—to win the White House.

In the end, President Obama prevailed over Governor Romney by 332 Electoral College votes to 206. By this measure, the president recorded a resounding and comprehensive victory. The popular vote, however, told a different story, with President Obama winning by a slim margin of only 2%, or about 3.5 million votes of almost 122 million votes cast.

The president won by just 0.9% in Florida and 1.9% in Ohio—razor-thin margins that ultimately yielded the president 47 Electoral College votes. Granted, a Romney victory in those two swing states would still have left him somewhat short of the 270 votes needed to secure the White House, and President Obama did carry all but two (Indiana and North Carolina) of the states he won in his 2008 landslide victory.1

But the anomaly of the Electoral College system, coupled with a grueling Republican primary process, produced an outcome that might suggest a fundamental national political realignment. Further analysis proved this not to be the case and revealed that the country remains very much divided politically.

After all, 4 years is a long time in politics. Karl Rove spoke of a “permanent Republican majority,”2 a notion made redundant by subsequent Democratic victories. Meanwhile, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a likely contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, is currently enjoying an approval rating of 67% among Democrats.3 Therefore, Republicans, understandably disappointed by the outcome of the 2012 election, certainly have some grounds for optimism.

2012 Election OverviewThe Senate Race

In a scenario similar to the presidential election, Senate results across the country point to a swing toward the Democratic Party that does not accurately reflect the underlying political mood of the nation.

Undoubtedly, November 6, 2012, was a good night for Senate Democrats. One year ago, such a result appeared impossible. Democrats were defending 21 seats compared with 10 Republican seats. Of these 21 seats, several were in traditionally Republican states (Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota) or were open races after long-standing Democratic senators (Kohl-MN, Conrad-ND, Nelson-NE) announced their retirement. Combined with a struggling economy and a perceived weakness at the top of the ticket, only the most optimistic Democrats expected to retain their majority in the Senate.

Admittedly, Senate Republicans also faced some uphill battles, particularly in New England. Senator Olympia Snowe’s retirement opened up the contest in Maine, whereas Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) was always expected to struggle to retain the seat once held by Ted Kennedy. Yet despite their numerical advantage and the favorable political landscape, Republicans managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

However, this outcome can be attributed to a combination of weak Republican candidates and costly campaign errors, rather than an outright endorsement of the Democratic Party or its leadership at the national level. In Missouri, incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill (D) was lagging behind her Republican challenger, Rep. Todd Akin, until his clumsy (and later retracted) comments regarding “legitimate rape.” McCaskill went on to win the race 54.7% to 39.2%.4 A similar story played out in Indiana, where six-term Republican powerhouse Senator Dick Lugar was defeated in the primary to a Tea Party–endorsed candidate whose campaign inexperience and hard-line political positions opened the door for an unexpected victory for Democrat Joe Donnelly. In Montana and North Dakota, Democrats managed to successfully distance themselves from President Obama and the national party, emphasizing their local roots and running near-perfect campaigns. In the end, incumbent Montana Senator Jon Tester (D) defeated Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg 48.7% to 44.8%, while in North Dakota, Heidi Heitkamp prevailed over Rick Berg by 50.5% to 49.5%, less than 3000 votes.5 Overall, the Democratic Party retained its Senate majority, holding 53 seats to the Republicans’ 45. Two Independent Senators (King-ME and Sanders-VT) will caucus with the Democrats.

As the focus shifts to the 2014 midterm election, Democrats will have to defend 20 seats, with only 13 Republicans up for reelection. Republicans have already identified six seats currently held by Democrats that could decide control of the Senate. The targeted incumbents are as follows: Mark Begich (Alaska), Kay Hagen (North Carolina), Tim Johnson (South Dakota), Jay Rockefeller (West Virginia), Mark Pryor (Arkansas), and Mary Landrieu (Louisiana). The GOP, anxious to avoid some of the missteps of 2012, hopes its primary process will yield a strong slate of candidates.

1Politico 2012 Election Results. Available at Accessed December 5, 2012.

2NBC News Transcripts. Meet the Press, November 7, 2004. Available at Accessed December 5, 2012.

3Washington Post Article. Chris Christie: The Most Popular Republican in the Country. Available at Accessed December 5, 2012.

4Washington Post 2012 Election Results. Available at Accessed December 5. 2012.

5Huffington Post Article. Heidi Heitkamp Election Results: Democrat Defeats Rick Berg in North Dakota Senate Race. Available at Accessed December 5, 2012.