House Ways & Means Committee Passes Opioid Related Bills
This week, the House Ways & Means Committee approved seven bipartisan pieces of legislation focused on reducing opioid abuse in Medicare. The package would expand coverage for medication-assisted treatment, promote non-opioid therapies for pain management and require Part D plans to have drug management programs for beneficiaries at risk of opioid addiction.
The bills now move to the House floor, joining 25 opioid-related bills approved by the House Energy & Commerce (E&C) Committee last week. The E&C committee is scheduled to reconvene for another markup of an additional 34 pieces of opioid abuse legislation.
Some of the bills that passed included:
- The Medicare and Opioid Safe Treatment Act (H.R. 5776), sponsored by Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA), Rep. George Holding (R-NC), Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA), and Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA), would increase access in Medicare to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. It also would require HHS to evaluate medication-assisted treatment options in Medicare Advantage that are not available in traditional Medicare; to review whether Part B payments can be used to promote alternative pain management; and to educate beneficiaries on the availability of psychological services.
- The Preventing Addiction for Susceptible Seniors Act (H.R. 5773), sponsored by Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL), Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL), Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA), and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), require Medicare prescription drug plans to establish drug management programs for at-risk beneficiaries, require electronic prior authorization for covered part D drugs, and to provide for other program integrity measures under parts C and D of the Medicare program.
- The Stop Excessive Narcotics in Our Retirement Communities Protection Act (H.R. 5676), sponsored by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY), and Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), would allow plans to suspend payments during investigations into credible allegations of fraud by pharmacies.