Chairman of the Health Subcommittee on Ways and Means, Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL), joined his colleagues, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) and Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) today in sending Requests for Information (RFIs) to stakeholders as part of its efforts to address opioid use and dependence in the Medicare program.
In 2016, more than 42,000 Americans died from opioid-related drug overdoses -- five times the rate in 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Drug overdoses kill more Americans than falls, guns, or traffic accidents -- and the economic burden from opioids was estimated to be $95 billion in 2016. This epidemic is particularly problematic for the Medicare population; according to a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) report released in July 2017, one-third of Part D beneficiaries received an opioid prescription in 2016, costing the program $4.1 billion and representing 79.4 million prescriptions.
"These are sobering facts. Opioid abuse is a serious problem in communities all over the country. One of the top priorities of the Health Subcommittee is looking at new ways to address opioid abuse," said Rep. Roskam. "It's a tragic situation to see a loved one in pain -- we need to work together and use all tools available to us to deal with this crisis."
The Committee requested information pertaining to overprescribing, data tracking, communication and education, as well as expanding treatment options in Medicare by March 15, 2018.