E&C Advances 25 Opioid Bills

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has advanced 25 bills to address the opioid epidemic for consideration by the full House of Representatives. The bipartisan proposals will expand access to medication assisted treatment (MAT) and programs to prevent the spread of infectious disease through injection drug use, strengthen the behavioral health care workforce, and encourage the use of non-opioid pain therapy. The Committee also passed H.R. 5333, the Over-the-Counter Monograph Safety, Innovation, and Reform Act of 2018 by voice vote. Lawmakers had planned to markup legislation that would waive Medicare telehealth requirements in certain cases in order to treat opioid use disorder or co-occurring mental illness, but the bill (H.R. 5603) was pulled at the last minute. The Committee will hold a second markup on opioid legislation on Thursday, at which time the Committee is expected to consider more controversial measures and bills that are still in the process of being finalized. While Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) hoped to see a House floor vote on a broad opioid package next week, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) office has stated that the package won’t reach the floor before June. According to Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the Senate will take up his Committee’s opioid bill once the House completes its work.

W&M to Mark Up Four Opioid Legislative Packages

The House Ways and Means Committee has released its legislative proposals to combat the opioid crisis. The bills are aimed at reducing unnecessary prescribing, improving access to substance use disorder treatment, and expanding provider education on painkillers. The Committee plans to mark up the following four packages of legislation later this week, but has not yet noticed an Executive Session for consideration:

  • H.R. 5773, “Preventing Addiction for Susceptible Seniors (PASS) Act” – Sponsored by Chairman Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), Rep. Steve Knight (R-Calif.), and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.)
  • H.R. 5774, “Combatting Opioid Abuse for Care in Hospitals (COACH) Act” – Sponsored by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), and Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.)
  • H.R. 5775, “Providing Reliable Options for Patients and Educational Resources (PROPER) Act” – Sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.), Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine), and Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.)
  • H.R. 5776, “Medicare and Opioid Safe Treatment (MOST) Act” – Sponsored by Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-Mass.), Rep. George Holding (R-N.C.), Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.), and Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.)

First Lady Announces Official Platform

First Lady Melania Trump revealed her formal platform last week. Her “Be Best” comprehensive program will focus on three main issues: well-being, combating the opioid epidemic, and positivity on social media. Her speech highlighted the importance of healthy living and emotional health. It also noted the importance of healthy pregnancy and bringing awareness to neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

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