Top lobbying groups urge Senate to oppose parts of House-passed opioids bill

Top lobbying groups urge Senate to oppose parts of House-passed opioids bill
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Powerful lobbying groups are pushing back against a House-passed bill intended to address the growing opioid epidemic. 

America's Health Insurance Plans led eight industry groups in a letter to Senate leadership Monday, asking that they oppose a provision in the House measure.


The provision, passed as part of the House opioids package in June, would require private insurance plans pay more to cover kidney disease before Medicare becomes the primary payer. 

The proposed change is meant to offset the costs of the bill, which includes a wide range of measures intended to fight the epidemic. 

"While we strongly support congressional efforts to address the opioid epidemic, we are very concerned about offsets that would reduce the ability of private health plans to provide comprehensive, affordable health care coverage," the groups wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season MORE (R-Ky.), Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSchumer mourns death of 'amazing' father Feehery: The honest contrarian Biden administration to release oil from strategic reserve: reports MORE (D-N.Y.), and the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Finance Committee. 

Shifting more costs to private insurance companies would "burden health plans at a time they are already facing challenges in maintaining affordable coverage," they wrote.

The letter was signed by the American Benefits Council, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Service Employees International Union, ERISA Industry Committee, United States Chamber of Commerce and UAW. 

Those groups are among the most powerful trade associations in Washington, often influencing health-care matters in Congress. 

The groups warned that, if passed, the bill would force private health plans to "raise premiums or reduce coverage." 

"These options are bad outcomes for workers and retirees," the letter reads. 

The Senate doesn't plan to vote on the House bill, but its own package made up of bills passed by the Health, Finance, Commerce, and Judiciary committees. 

That means the two chambers will have to hammer out a final opioid package to send to President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE