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Reps. Clarke and Kinzinger Introduce Opioid Action Legislation

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Yvette Clarke (D-NY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) introduced H.R. 5590, the Opioid Addiction Action Plan, which would require the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid (CMS) to develop an “Opioid Addiction Action Plan” with stakeholder feedback and then report it to Congress by January 1, 2019. Clarke and Kinzinger were joined by their colleagues on the House Ways and Means Committee, Reps. Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Danny Davis (D-IL), in introducing this legislation.

The Opioid Addiction Action Plan is needed to make sure policies include coverage, treatments, and information that serve the overall goal of preventing opioid abuse. Under this plan, Medicare and Medicaid will better be able to identify ways to be more adaptable to innovative treatments for both pain that would normally require opioid prescriptions and for treatment of substance abuse disorders.

Congresswoman Clarke (NY-09) released this statement:

“We are in the midst of a nationwide opioid crisis. What has been largely perceived as a rural white problem has now become widespread among black Americans in urban communities. Studies show that black Americans are dying at alarming rates of fentanyl overdoses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2017 that drug deaths for black Americans increased by 41% – outpacing any other racial or ethnic group.”

“Adam and I have teamed up to introduce the Opioid Addiction Action Plan and we’re both committed to stopping this deadly epidemic in its tracks. Our bi-partisan legislation creates a National Action Plan to help address challenges in combating this very serious and very real issue.”

Congressman Kinzinger (IL-16) released this statement:

“For far too long, we have employed a ‘one size fits all’ method for treating pain and substance abuse disorder. We must have other options and in the 21st Century, we should be encouraging innovation and push the boundaries of our medical advances.  As we continue to face this devastating opioid epidemic, both Medicaid and Medicare are on the front lines and it’s critical that our policies are working towards the prevention of opioid abuse while still providing the care that patients need.

“I’m grateful to my colleague Congresswoman Clarke for joining me in this effort, and I look forward to working towards putting an end to the opioid abuse crisis and creating a system that is flexible, adaptable, and focused on preventing and treating addiction.”