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On the Hill: Push for Opioid Bill by Memorial Day

Congress continues to hold hearings on ways to combat the opioid epidemic as lawmakers push to pass legislation before Memorial Day weekend.

The Senate Committee on Finance will hold an April 19 hearing on treating opioid and substance use disorders among beneficiaries of Medicare, Medicaid, and human services programs. In addition, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight will hold a May 8 hearing on opioid distributors and their alleged contributions to the nation’s opioid crisis.

The upcoming hearings follow discussions last week on measures to fight the opioid epidemic.

At a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) hearing last week, lawmakers discussed the recently released Opioid Response Crisis Act of 2018. The hearing focused on drug monitoring programs, increasing information for prescribers, and expanding access to health screenings. During the hearing, Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) expressed his intent to have legislation on the Senate floor by the end of the month, with the committee marking up the bill April 24.

Meanwhile, the Energy and Commerce Committee on April 11 held its third and final opioid hearing, which focused on the 34 bills the committee is considering to change how Medicaid and Medicare address the opioid crisis. The committee intends to vote on a final opioid package before the end of the month.

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About the Author

Erin Delaney is the legislative affairs associate at America's Essential Hospitals.