Washington, DC — This week, three bipartisan bills sponsored by Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) to address the opioid crisis were advanced out of the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees. The bills are:
- H.R. 5722 – Introduced by Reps. Chu and Jackie Walorski (IN-02), this bill would direct the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to study barriers to accessing non-drug alternatives to opioids to manage chronic and acute pain within the Medicare program, and provide a report to Congress on any existing barriers. Alternatives include acupuncture, physical therapy, occupational therapy, medical devices, and others. It also includes a directive for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a toolkit to educate beneficiaries about non-drug opioid alternatives. H.R. 5722 passed in the House Ways and Means Committee by voice vote on Wednesday, May 16, 2018.
- H.R. 5790 – Introduced by Reps. Chu and Kristi Noem (SD-At Large), this bill would direct the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Innovation (CMMI) to support ways for beneficiaries to familiarize themselves with coverage for psychologist services, and requests a study from the General Accountability Office on the viability of mental and behavioral health services in the Medicare Program. H.R. 5790 passed in the House Ways and Means Committee by voice vote on Wednesday, May 16, 2018.
- H.R. 4684 – Introduced by Rep. Chu, the Ensuring Access to Quality Sober Living Act would direct HHS to develop a set of best practices for sober living homes, or recovery residences, and provide technical assistance to states that wish to adopt these standards. It also directs HHS to disseminate information about best practices once they have been developed. H.R. 4684 passed in the House Energy and Commerce Committee by voice vote on Thursday, May 17, 2018.
Rep. Chu released the following statement:
“The opioid epidemic will not go away on its own. Congress must be proactive in getting our communities the tools and the resources that they need to address this crisis. The three bills that I have authored focuses on preventing addiction through access to mental health care, providing access to treatment alternatives that helps individuals avoid opioids, and ensuring the best possible recovery for those who are working to overcome addiction. These three bills touches on the entire scope of the opioid crisis. They have bipartisan support and was crafted with the help of experts to target specific moments in the treatment process that can mean the difference between life and death. I’m so pleased that they gained unanimous support from the committees and I hope to see them voted on by the whole House of Representatives soon so that they can be signed into law as quickly as possible.”