Today, President Trump signed into law H.R. 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act. This bill is a package of bipartisan bills to address the opioid epidemic, including three provisions authored by Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27). The legislation sponsored by Rep. Chu — H.R. 5722, H.R. 5790, and H.R. 4684 – focus on prevention through access to mental health care, providing access to treatment alternatives that help individuals avoid opioids, and ensuring the best possible recovery for those who are working to overcome addiction.
Rep. Chu released the following statement:
“I’m proud that we could find a bipartisan way to address the opioid epidemic that is plaguing every community in our country. I’m especially proud that legislation I worked on with constituents, advocates, and people in recovery was included in this package. Together, my three bills target specific moments in the prevention, treatment, and recovery process that can mean the difference between life and death. But H.R. 6 is just the first step. It took years just to pass this package, and we still need greater resources and funding to help those suffering from addiction. I hope that we can continue to build on this bipartisan progress to help end this crisis and bring relief and help to families.”
Provisions authored by Rep. Chu include:
- H.R. 5722 – Introduced by Reps. Chu and Jackie Walorski (R-IN), 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.
- H.R. 5790 – Introduced by Reps. Chu and Kristi Noem (R-SD), 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. 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. 6 passed the House by a vote of 393-8, and the Senate by a vote of 98-1.