ADEA Washington Update

Opioid Bill is Ready but It’s Not the Law Yet

(House, Senate, Opioid Abuse, Prescription Drug Abuse) Permanent link   All Posts

Senate and House negotiators settled on a legislative agreement to address the opioid epidemic that should head to President Trump this month. The measure (H.R. 6) includes language to modestly expand Medicaid inpatient coverage for addiction. The bill took months of bipartisan work by eight House committees and five Senate committees. The agreement includes measures to develop new nonaddictive painkillers and to overhaul prescription drug monitoring programs. It would also reauthorize the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The bill makes several changes to state Medicaid programs and adjusts Medicaid requirements to address opioid and substance use disorders. It increases the maximum number of patients that health care providers initially treat with medication-assisted treatment. It also temporarily eliminates the enhanced federal matching rate for Medicaid expenditures regarding specified medical services provided by certain managed care organizations.  Section 1004 of the bill would build on current state Medicaid drug utilization review activities to monitor concurrent prescribing of opioids and certain other drugs and monitor antipsychotic prescribing for children.

The revised final version of the bill adjusts the definition of a religious group that is exempt from requirements of the Affordable Care Act. If an individual is a member of a group that relies solely on a religious method of healing they would be exempt from the requirement to have health insurance. The revised version also makes $31 million available from the Medicaid Improvement Fund, which was established to improve program management and evaluate demonstration projects.

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