The Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patient Communities Act received an overwhelming amount of support from representatives, passing in a 396-14 vote.
This legislation approved by the House on Friday will give various federal agencies the resources they need to combat opioid addiction and death caused by the drug.
In 2016, opioid overdoses were responsible for 42,000 deaths in America and continues to take more than 115 lives daily. The bipartisan bill aims to help efforts by “advancing treatment and recovery initiatives, improving prevention, protecting our communities, and bolstering our efforts to fight deadly illicit synthetic drugs like fentanyl,” according to the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees.
The bill contains reforms for Medicaid, Medicare and public health, including but not limited to:
- Require state Medicaid programs to have safety edits in place for opioid refills, monitor concurrent prescribing of opioids and certain other drugs, and monitor antipsychotic prescribing for children
- Require CMS to issue guidance on Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) treatment options under Medicaid and require a study by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) on coverage gaps for pregnant women with substance use disorder.
- Provide additional incentives for Medicaid health homes for patients with substance use disorder.
- Require e-prescribing, with exceptions, for coverage of prescription drugs that are controlled substances under the Medicare Part D program.
- Require prescription drug plan sponsors under the Medicare program establish drug management programs for at-risk beneficiaries.
- Authorize grants to state and local agencies for the establishment or operation of public health laboratories to detect fentanyl, its analogues, and other synthetic opioids.
For the full list of reforms and other information concerning the bill, click here
There are new provisions in place to better treat drug addiction and help prevent illegal drugs enter the U.S., creating the need for more research regarding nonaddictive painkillers, according to the Washington Examiner.
It has been confirmed that this opioid epidemic outburst is largely due to over-prescriptions leading patients to seek out cheaper drugs, such as heroin.
Top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J said:
“This bill makes incremental changes to support those affected by the opioid crisis, but is far from perfect, [the bill] does not adequately deal with the magnitude of the crisis that this country is facing, and there are provisions that I did not support at the subcommittee or full committee markups, including provisions that most Democrats voted against.”
In an article by the Washington Examiner, Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee claims this bill makes great strides to help millions of Americans.
Critics say the legislation alone is not enough to make a lasting impact on the crisis but advocates praise the measures as steps forward against the epidemic.
Read more about what was said on the House floor at the Washington Examiner.
For the Hill’s article, click here.