Tester Backs Bipartisan Bill to Provide More Affordable Health Care Options for Rural Montanans

Senator’s Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act would expand Medicare to cover critical services rendered by rural pharmacists

Continuing his efforts to improve access to affordable health care for Montanans and rural communities, U.S. Senator Jon Tester backed the bipartisan Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act – legislation that would allow critical services offered by rural pharmacists to be covered by Medicare.

“Montanans depend on their local pharmacies for essential health care services and lifesaving medications,” said Tester. “We’ve got to make sure folks can access affordable care where it’s most convenient for them to get it, full stop. That’s why I’m teaming up with Republicans and Democrats to make sure rural communities have more options for quality and affordable health care services by allowing pharmacies to provide critical services.” 

Tester’s bipartisan Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act would ensure more convenient access to common, necessary healthcare services in Montana, particularly those in rural areas, by allowing pharmacists to bill Medicare for administering tests, treatments, and certain vaccinations. Pharmacists would only be able to bill Medicare for testing or treatments they are licensed to provide, and which would otherwise be covered if provided by a physician. 

Tester has consistently worked across the aisle to increase access to quality and affordable health care in rural America and is a leading advocate in Congress to lower costs of prescription drugs.

Earlier this year, Tester introduced his Defending Access to Rural Health Care Act to make critical investments in rural health care by enhancing telehealth coverage for rural health clinics and centers, providing targeted regulatory relief for Critical Access Hospitals, and ensuring quality care by expanding incentive programs. Tester’s legislation would also lower costs for rural patients by boosting Medicare co-payments for services received in Critical Access Hospitals. Additionally, Tester re-introduced his bipartisan Rural Physician Workforce Production Act with Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) to incentivize young physicians to build their careers in rural hospitals, and ensure those facilities have the resources they need to recruit and retain doctors for the long haul.

Last August Tester passed the Inflation Reduction Act which requires Medicare to negotiate drug prices, caps out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for Medicare patients at $2,000/year, caps the cost of insulin for Medicare patients at $35/ month, and extends Affordable Care Act provisions to prevent price hikes for thousands of Montanans. The legislation is fully paid for by holding corporations and billionaires accountable.


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