In-Depth: Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) introduced this bill with Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY) to ensure the creation of policies to address the opioid abuse crisis at the coverage, reimbursement, treatment, and information provision level. Rep. Kinzinger said of the bill:
“For far too long, we have employed a ‘one size fits all’ method for treating pain and substance abuse disorder. We must have other options and in the 21st Century, we should be encouraging innovation and push the boundaries of our medical advances. As we continue to face this devastating opioid epidemic, both Medicaid and Medicare are on the front lines and it’s critical that our policies are working towards the prevention of opioid abuse while still providing the care that patients need… I look forward to working towards putting an end to the opioid abuse crisis and creating a system that is flexible, adaptable, and focused on preventing and treating addiction.”
The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) supports this bill. BIO’s President and CEO, Jim Greenwood, said:
“As the largest payer of healthcare services in the country, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has the ability to lead by example in developing policies that improve timely patient access to the most effective treatments for pain and addiction, as well as helping to stimulate research and investment in novel treatments to better meet patients’ needs. Specific and targeted updates to coverage and reimbursement policies impacting the Medicare and Medicaid programs will drive appropriate coverage of novel pain and addiction treatment across the United States. By directing CMS to develop an Opioid Action Plan, this Act would help accomplish this critical goal.”
This bill has six cosponsors, including two Democrats and four Republicans. There is a companion to this bill in the Senate, S. 2769, sponsored by Dean Heller (R-NV).
Of Note: The opioid epidemic impact is tremendous: in 2016, an average of over 115 across the country died of overdoses each day, adding up to 42,249 people dying from overdoses. That same year, HHS estimates that a total of 11.5 million people misused prescription opioids. In total, the epidemic carried a $504 billion economic cost.
In 2017, HHS declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency and announced a 5-Point Strategy to Combat the Opioid Crisis with five specific strategies for HHS to execute against:
Improving access to treatment and recovery services;
Promoting use of overdose-reversing drugs;
Strengthening our understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance;
Providing support for cutting edge research on pain and addiction; and
Advancing better practices for pain management
Summary by Lorelei Yang
(Photo Credit: DNY59 / iStock)