House Passes Sinema-Backed Bill to Fight Opioid Epidemic, Empower Seniors to Stay Healthy

PASS Act cracks down on opioid overprescribing, a root cause of the opioid epidemic

The House took an important step today to address a root cause of the opioid crisis. A bill co-introduced by Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema to crack down on overprescribing and help stop the flood of opioids into Arizona communities passed the full chamber. The Preventing Addiction for Susceptible Seniors (PASS) Act is now on its way to the Senate.

“Arizonans deserve real solutions that will help end the suffering and pain inflicted by our nation’s opioid crisis,” said Congresswoman Sinema. “Today, we worked across the aisle and passed important legislation that attacks a root cause of the epidemic. This bill will help reduce overprescribing by targeting bad actors and arming doctors with more tools and information to protect their patients.

The PASS Act confronts the opioid epidemic with a multi-pronged approach. Among other provisions, the PASS Act will:

  • Crack down on doctors and providers contributing to the opioid epidemicby requiring insurance companies working within the Medicare Part D system to alert the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Studies (CMS) to doctors who overprescribe opioids for investigation.
  • Cut down on overprescribing and educate doctors on appropriate treatments. The bill requires CMS to establish a threshold for ‘outlier prescribers,’ doctors who prescribe amounts of opioids that are outside the norm for their region or specialty. CMS will alert these doctors that they are overprescribing and address any flawed practices.
  • Make it easier for seniors to avoid addiction and manage their prescriptionsby expanding the Medication Therapy Management (MTM) program to include Medicare beneficiaries. The MTM program provides counseling that can help reduce the risks of prescription drug abuse.

Other cosponsors of the PASS Act include Reps. Peter Roskam (IL-06), Terri Sewell (AL-07), and Steve Knight (CA-26).