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 McConnellSanders hits Feinstein over Kavanaugh allegations: Now it’s clear why she did nothing for months On The Money: Senate approves 4B spending bill | China imposes new tariffs on billion in US goods | Ross downplays new tariffs: 'Nobody's going to actually notice' McConnell tamps down any talk of Kavanaugh withdrawal MORE (R-Ky.), Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerHouse Dems push to delay Kavanaugh vote for investigation Democrats should end their hypocrisy when it comes to Kavanaugh and the judiciary Celebrities back both Cuomo and Nixon as New Yorkers head to primary vote 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 John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE