October 03,2018

Press Contact:

Nicole Hager, 202-224-4515

Senate Passes Major Opioids Legislation That Includes Key Finance Committee Proposals

Bill Includes Finance Provisions to Improve Responses of Medicare, Medicaid and Family Service Programs to Crisis

WASHINGTON – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today commended Senate passage of bipartisan, bicameral legislation to combat the opioid crisis. The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act has already passed the House and will now go to the president for his signature.

 “America has been confronting an opioid crisis for years and the epidemic knows no social, economic or political bounds,” said Hatch. “I am proud that despite these highly partisan times, members of Congress came together to identify meaningful solutions to address the opioid epidemic. I look forward to seeing this legislation, which includes proposals across five Senate Committees, eight House committees and is the work of dozens of senators and representatives, signed by the president. I remain committed to continuing to work across the aisle to support the thousands of American families who are affected by the opioid crisis.” 

 This momentous bill includes proposals from the Finance Committee’s Helping to End Addiction and Lessen (HEAL) Substance Use Disorders Act of 2018, which will allow Medicaid, Medicare and family service programs to better respond to the opioid epidemic and better serve those who use the programs and suffer from substance use disorders. Take a look at some of the highlights of the Finance Committee proposals that are included in the bill.


 This legislation includes critical reforms to empower Medicare beneficiaries by giving them more information on alternative pain treatments, while expanding treatment options for those suffering from addiction. In order to prevent abuse, it also improves tracking of opioid prescriptions so that the beneficiaries are still able to access necessary medications while avoiding misuse.  


 For the first time since 1965, individuals enrolled in Medicaid with a substance use disorder will have access to inpatient and residential treatment facilities. For too long, people have forgone more intensive treatment out of fear of losing their Medicaid benefits. Now, they will be able to receive the best clinical care available in high-intensity treatment environments, should they need it.

 Family Services:

 This bill helps children who are often the unintended victims of opioid abuse. Moms will be able to stay with their babies while receiving comprehensive treatment, bolstering the important infant-caregiver bond. This legislation also aims to help children in the foster care system as a result of the epidemic by supporting programs to help parents successfully complete opioid addiction treatment and reunite with their children more quickly. In that same vein, the bill increases accessibility of family residential treatment programs, which allows more parents to get help while still caring for their children in a supervised setting.