May 15, 2018 | Policy Update
National Addiction Policy Update May 2018
WASHINGTON D.C. UPDATE
CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
Several House Committees work on legislation to address the opioid epidemic in preparation for Opioids Week, the first week following the Memorial Day break. During Opioids Week, House leaders are hoping to bring up numerous opioids bills to the house floor.
On the Senate side, staff indicated that action may be considerably slower. As we have previously reported, if or when the full Senate should take up a package, it is expected to be a joint package that incorporates the work of the Senate Health, Education, and Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which has already reported a bill, and the Senate Finance and Judiciary Committees, who have not yet considered legislation. Some Senate staffers have indicated that the Senate leadership may delay floor consideration for legislation in order to keep vulnerable Senate democrats who are up for re-election – such as Senators Manchin (D-WV) and Donnelly (D-IN) – from winning their respective races.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
Last week, the Committee released a discussion draft of legislation to re-authorize the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Comments on the draft may be submitted here. Upon releasing the discussion draft, Chairman Gowdy (R-SC) announced that the Committee will hold a hearing on ONDCP reauthorization on May 17.
House Energy and Commerce Committee
The full Committee marked up 26 bills addressing the opioid misuse and overdose epidemic; all of the bills were reported by voice vote. As indicated by the voice votes, the markup largely lacked the partisan tensions that characterized the Health Subcommittee markup a couple weeks ago. The Committee will hold a second markup on May 17 on the more difficult bills, which is expected to be longer and more contentious.
House Ways and Means Committee
The Committee is working on bills to address the opioid epidemic within the next couple of weeks. Chairman Brady (R-TX), Neal (D-MA), Roskam (R-IL), and Levin (D-MI) released bipartisan legislative proposals for consideration. In releasing the bills, the Committee announced that they intend to mark up 4 packages that will include additional pieces of legislation on:
- H.R. 5773, “Preventing Addiction for Susceptible Seniors (PASS) Act” – Sponsored by Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL), Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL), Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA), and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)
- H.R. 5774, “Combatting Opioid Abuse for Care in Hospitals (COACH) Act” – Sponsored by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC), and Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH)
- H.R. 5775, “Providing Reliable Options for Patients and Educational Resources (PROPER) Act” – Sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Rep. Ron Kind (R-WI), Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), and Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA)
- H.R. 5776, “Medicare and Opioid Safe Treatment (MOST) Act” – Sponsored by Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA), Rep. George Holding (R-NC), Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA), and Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA)
A full list of the bills is available here.
House Judiciary Committee
Last week, the Committee held a hearing on Challenges and Solutions to the Opioid Abuse Crisis.
House Education and Workforce Committee
Last week, the Committee held a hearing entitled, The Opioid Epidemic: Implications for the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act.
President Trump and HHS Secretary Alex Azar spoke at the White House about prescription drug reforms being called “American Patients First.” The details of the proposal are yet to emerge, but specific ideas mentioned include:
- End rewards for drug companies under Medicare which escalate drug prices.
- End rebate payments going to prescription drug middlemen.
- End the gag rule which prohibits pharmacists from recommending to patients more affordable alternatives.
- The US Trade Representative will negotiate with foreign governments to pay higher prices for US-made drugs.
- Require prescription drug companies to disclose the cost of their medication in television advertisements.
- Authorize Medicare Part D officials to negotiate for lower prices.
This Policy Update was generously provided by Holly Strain & Carol McDaid of Capitol Decisions