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Congressman Richard Neal

Representing the 1st District of Massachusetts

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Neal Bill on Opioid Treatment Passes in Ways and Means Committee

May 17, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard E. Neal lauded the committee passage of H.R. 5776, the Medicare and Opioid Safe Treatment (MOST) Act of 2018.

The bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Congressman George Holding (R-NC), focuses on providing access to treatment for Medicare beneficiaries suffering from opioid use disorder. Currently, Medicare does not cover care provided by opioid treatment providers (OTPs), one of the main access points to opioid use disorder treatment in the U.S.  This legislation fills that void, ensuring that beneficiaries in need of treatment can access it at a community provider. It also provides grant money for federally qualified health centers and rural health centers to cover the cost of training their providers to provide medication assisted treatment, further expanding access to treatment opportunities across the country.

“Opioid use disorders are rapidly growing among Medicare beneficiaries,” said Neal. “Medicare Part D spending on opioids far outpaces enrollment, growing 165% from 2006 to 2015. In 13 states, the highest rate of inpatient admissions related to opioid use was in the over 65 population. People think opioid use disorders are a problem impacting young people, but recent studies clearly show Medicare beneficiaries are also at risk.”

Altogether, the Committee marked up seven bipartisan bills, each of which would help to fill these coverage gaps, and improve coordination and access to information related to opioid use and abuse. 

A full summary of the bill can be viewed here.

 

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