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Lawmakers seek information on curbing opioid addiction in Medicare

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Lawmakers seek information on curbing opioid addiction in Medicare

Top Republicans and Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee are requesting information from critical stakeholders on how to prevent and treat opioid addiction in Medicare, as the panel seeks to craft bipartisan legislation to curb the opioid epidemic.

Specifically, they’re asking insurers, benefit managers, providers and prescribers to submit information on how the Medicare program can help stem the opioid epidemic — noting that one in three beneficiaries in Medicare’s prescription drug program received a prescription opioid in 2016.

Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and ranking member Richard Neal (D-Mass.) — along with Health Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and the top Democrat, Sandy Levin (Mich.) — sent the request Tuesday.

By March 15, they’re asking the stakeholders to provide information on overprescribing, data tracking, treatment, communication and education.

The Ways and Means Committee is one of several groups of lawmakers examining measures to clamp down on the opioid epidemic, which saw rates of overdose deaths jump nearly 28 percent from 2015 to 2016.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding its first of three hearings Wednesday to discuss legislation. On the other side of the Capitol, a bipartisan group of eight senators introduced Tuesday a follow up to the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act passed in 2016, dubbed “CARA 2.0.”

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