Rep. Sewell’s Bipartisan Opioid Bill Passes the House
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed a legislative package with dozens of bills to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic, including the Preventing Addiction for Susceptible Seniors (PASS) Act, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL). The Preventing Addiction for Susceptible Seniors Act helps prevent abuse among seniors without limiting access to needed medications.
“Passage of the PASS Act is a bipartisan victory in our battle against the opioid epidemic,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “Opioid addiction doesn’t discriminate by age, or income, or political party, and it is going to take everyone working together to put an end to this national crisis. Our seniors are one of our most vulnerable populations, and the PASS Act gives Medicare plan sponsors the tools they need to identify red flags for opioid abuse. While there is no one silver bullet, bipartisan solutions like the PASS Act are a big step forward in our work to stop the opioid epidemic from claiming more lives.”
According to a July 2017 report released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG), one-third of Medicare Part D beneficiaries received an opioid prescription in 2016. The analysis also found that 501,008 Part D beneficiaries received high amounts of opioids, and 69,563 received “extreme” amounts – many as a result of “doctor shopping.”
The PASS Act requires Part D to create a lock-in plan that prevents at-risk seniors from doctor shopping. The bill also streamlines communications between CMS and Part C and D plans regarding program integrity.
Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) is serving her fourth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional district. She sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was recently appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Sewell is a Chief Deputy Whip and serves on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee of the Democratic Caucus. She is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, and Vice Chair of Outreach for the New Democrat Coalition.