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On the Hill: Opioids, Part B Drugs, MACRA

This week, the House is expected to vote on several opioid-related measures, including the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act; a bill to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management; and a Senate measure, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.

Also this week, 19 House Democrats sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) supporting the CMS Medicare Part B demonstration project to curb prescriptions for higher-cost drugs when lower-cost drugs are available. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, an industry trade group, has engaged in a major lobbying effort to stop the proposal. CMS received more than 700 comments on the proposed rule and will review comments before issuing a final rule. America’s Essential Hospitals submitted a comment letter expressing serious concerns with the proposal.

In committee business, the House Committee on Ways and Means holds a hearing today on implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), which included a permanent fix for physician payments under Medicare, a two-year delay of disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments, an extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and other measures.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health held a hearing today on patient choice and plan innovation. The Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing May 10 on improving outcomes for vulnerable individuals and families.

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About the Author

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

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