Healthcare

House overwhelmingly passes bill to fight opioid crisis

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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 Trump’s desk.

{mosads}The legislation includes a range of measures aimed at fighting the deadly opioid crisis, which killed more than 42,000 people in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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limits on Medicaid paying for care at addiction treatment facilities, addressing restrictions that lawmakers called outdated.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 Ryan (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. (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 Warren (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.

Tags Addiction Buprenorphine Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Frank Pallone Jr. Opioid Opioid epidemic Paul Ryan
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