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On the Hill: House and Senate Focus on Spending, Opioid Misuse

This week, the House and Senate are working to finish spending bills.

The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which includes all health-related funding, is the largest and most difficult to pass. While discussions about the measure’s consideration are underway, the bill has yet to make it to House and Senate committees or to the floor for a vote.

Also this week, Senate leaders sent a letter to CMS asking that the agency take steps to reduce hospitals’ use of opioids for Medicaid and Medicare patients and encourage alternative pain management options. The letter is part of an effort to reduce inappropriate use of opioids.

Meanwhile, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing April 19 to examine physicians’ efforts to prepare for payment reforms under the Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization Act, which was signed into law last year. The same committee meets today to mark up 12 health bills, including several opioid-related measures.

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About the Author

Jocelyn Wiles is the manager of legislative affairs at America's Essential Hospitals.

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