The House on Friday overwhelmingly passed legislation meant to fight the opioid epidemic, a moment of bipartisanship amid a series of fierce partisan battles.
The bill, which passed 393-8, is the product of months of work in both chambers. The Senate is expected to soon send the measure to President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE’s desk.
The bill lifts some limits on Medicaid paying for care at addiction treatment facilities, addressing restrictions that lawmakers called outdated. It cracks down on illicit opioids being imported by mail and fueling the crisis across the United States.
The legislation also lifts limits on nurse practitioners and other providers being able to prescribe buprenorphine, a drug used in addiction treatment.
“If this legislation can save one life, bring help to one person, that is what matters,” said Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPaul Ryan researched narcissistic personality disorder after Trump win: book Paul Ryan says it's 'really clear' Biden won election: 'It was not rigged. It was not stolen' Democrats fret over Trump-district retirements ahead of midterms MORE (R-Wis.). “It's going to do far more than that.”
Several GOP lawmakers in tough reelection races spoke out in support of the measure and touted provisions they sponsored that were included in the bill, something that they can tout on the campaign trail.
Democrats praised the bill as a good first step but said that more needs to be done, including more funding.
“This bill is an important step, but we must do a lot more. The opioid crisis continues to get worse, a lot more needs to be done to provide treatment and expand the treatment infrastructure,” said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneHouse Democrats ramp up probe of FDA approval of Alzheimer's drug Intercept bureau chief: Democrats dropping support of Medicare for All could threaten bill's momentum House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 MORE (N.J.), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “And more resources are needed to support the families and communities impacted by this crisis.”
Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenIn defense of share buybacks Democrats urge Biden to go all in with agenda in limbo In Washington, the road almost never taken MORE (D-Mass.), for example, has a bill to provide $100 billion to fight the crisis over 10 years, which she says is closer to what is necessary to truly address the crisis.
Friday’s bill comes after the government funding bill increased anti-opioid funding up to $3.8 billion this year.