WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement at a Full Committee markup of Bills to Combat the Opioid Crisis.
CLICK HERE to watch the markup.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“The opioid crisis has affected every community in America. Today more than three out of five drug overdoses involve opioids. We all have experienced firsthand just how devastating these drugs can be for our neighbors and loved ones. This is a tragedy that must be addressed.
“This afternoon our Committee will consider four legislative packages and three standalone bills which are designed to help families and communities overcome the terrible impact of opioid addiction. We will review each bill in turn in the course of today’s markup, but I want to spotlight just a few of the key policies we will consider.
“For example, H.R. 5775, the ‘Providing Reliable Options for Patients and Educational Resources Act,’ sponsored by Representatives Paulsen and Kind, among others, looks to improve efforts to educate patients and insurers on the negative effects of opioids and inform patients on possibilities for non-opioid treatments.
“H.R. 5774, the ‘Combatting Opioid Abuse for Care in Hospitals Act,’ which is sponsored by Representatives Curbelo and DelBene, among others, will improve program integrity requirements surrounding prescribing and health plan communication to assist patients that have been prescribed opioids.
“This legislation will require CMS to develop a toolkit that provides best practices to hospitals across America for reducing opioid use.
“And H.R. 5788, the ‘Securing the International Mail Against Opioids Act of 2018,’ is sponsored by Representatives Bishop and Pascrell. This bill addresses the opioid epidemic by securing international mail, which is all too often an easy route for smuggling dangerous synthetic opioids like fentanyl into the United States. I want to emphasize as we move forward with this bill today, I am committed to continuing to engage with Members, the Senate – including Senator Portman, and stakeholders to improve it and address valid concerns as we prepare the bill for floor action and beyond. Today is just the first step – but it is a crucial first step.
“Those are just a few of the literally dozens of noteworthy policies included in the legislation before us today. I want to thank all the Members on both sides of the aisle who crafted this legislation.
“And as I said, our work doesn’t end here. We know there is still a long way to go, and I look forward to working together to move these important proposals to the House floor in the weeks ahead.”