|Congress Continues Work on Opioid Legislation |
The House Energy and Commerce Committee last week marked up over 20 bills as part of the panel’s work to address the opioid epidemic. The measures passed with bipartisan support and touched on a number of different priorities for combating opioid abuse. For example, one bill requires MedPAC to report on opioid payment, adverse incentives, and data under the Medicare program. Another includes requiring the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop guidance on pain management and prevention of opioid use disorder for hospitals receiving payment under Part A, while a different proposal provides for a technical expert panel to provide recommendation on reducing opioid use in the surgical setting. Lawmakers also proposed requiring Medicare Advantage (MA) plans under Part C and Part D drug plans to provide info relating to the safe disposal of Rx drugs that are controlled substances.
The markup comes just two weeks after the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee advanced 56 opioid-related bills, including the measures the full committee approved. The panel will hold a second markup May 17 to consider the remaining legislation. Chairman Greg Walden wants to have the committee’s package wrapped up by Memorial Day and the legislation is expected to go to the House floor shortly after that.
The Senate health committee advanced its own opioid legislation last month (read more in Advocacy Now online here), and other congressional committees are expected to take up opioid-related measures this summer.
“Over the last six months, this committee has heard from experts on how the federal government can be the best possible partner as we work to combat the nation’s largest public health crisis – the opioid crisis,” Alexander said. The challenge before us has often been described as needing a moonshot. Solving the opioid crisis might require the energy and resources of a moonshot, but ultimately it is not something that can be solved by an agency in Washington, D.C.”
The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) sent letters to ranking members of both committees commenting on the various legislative proposals.
“To be successful, stakeholders need to work together to ensure all patients have access to the whole gamut of options that prevent and treat addiction,” the AAOS letter states. “The AAOS supports increased access to evidence-based pain related treatment, including mental health and substance abuse treatment, research into innovative treatments, better prescription monitoring, and effective education for physicians and patients. To these ends, the AAOS is working on several initiatives – from public service announcements to a ‘pain relief toolkit’ – to encourage AAOS members to practice safe and effective pain management and treatment.”
Read the letter to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (PDF)…
Read the letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee (PDF)…
Find all AAOS advocacy resources on opioids at www.aaos.org/advocacy/FDA/.