Senate Finance Committee releases 22 opioid bills to mark up in ‘coming weeks’

Senate Finance Committee releases 22 opioid bills to mark up in ‘coming weeks’
© Tomas Nevesely/iStock/Thinkstock Photos

The Senate Finance Committee released 22 bipartisan bills aimed at curbing the opioid epidemic, with plans to mark up the legislation in the “coming weeks,” the panel announced Wednesday.

The legislation is aimed at tackling the epidemic through the committee’s jurisdiction, mainly in Medicare, Medicaid and human services.

The Finance Committee is one of several panels working on legislation aimed at stemming the tide of the opioid epidemic, which is contributing to an estimated 115 American deaths per day according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Through stakeholder input, hearings, and other member engagement, our committee has spent the first half of the year examining potential solutions to help curb the opioid crisis plaguing our nation,” the panel’s chairman, Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchThis week: Congress set for next stage of Mueller probe fight NY's political prosecution of Manafort should scare us all Congress must break its addiction to unjust tax extenders MORE (R-Utah), and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Mueller delivers report, ending investigation | FEMA exposed info of 2.3M disaster survivors | Facebook asks judge to toss DC privacy lawsuit | Trump picks his first CTO | FCC settles lawsuit over net neutrality records Treasury expands penalty relief to more taxpayers Overnight Health Care: Senators seek CBO input on preventing surprise medical bills | Oversight panel seeks OxyContin documents | Pharmacy middlemen to testify on prices | Watchdog warns air ambulances can put patients at 'financial risk' MORE (Ore.), the committee’s top Democrat, said in a joint statement. They called the release of the bills a “significant step in the committee’s legislative process.”

One such bill is aimed at requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to provide guidance to states on telehealth reimbursement in the Medicaid program, which provides health coverage to lower income and disabled Americans. There’s also legislation aimed at expanding the use of telehealth services for opioid addiction.

Another requires Medicare beneficiaries to be screened for an addiction during their annual wellness visits and for any current opioid prescriptions to be reviewed.

Last month, the Senate Health Committee sent its bipartisan bill to the chamber’s floor. The House plans to vote on opioid legislation from the Energy and Commerce Committee in June, and the House Ways and Means Committee has also released bipartisan legislation.