The House of Representatives today approved a bipartisan package of opioid bills, including three bills co-authored by Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.). While supporting the package, Welch decried the lack of a more comprehensive approach to combatting the opioid public health epidemic ravaging communities in Vermont and across the country.
"If the first principle of legislation is to do no harm, we have succeeded," said Welch. "But if the goal of legislation is to solve a problem, we have failed. What Congress should have passed in addition to these good bills is a full-scale opioids Marshall Plan that provides significant resources to those working on the front lines of this public health epidemic."
Rep. Welch is a cosponsor of the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency Act of 2018 (H.R. 5545), a full-scale Marshall plan to combat the opioid crisis by providing states and communities with $100 billion in funding over 10 years.
The Welch co-authored bills included in the House-passed package will:
Increase funding for the Medicaid Health Homes program, which funds state wrap-around substance abuse services, including Vermont's Hub and Spoke program (H.R. 5810).
Attack the root cause of overprescribing by requiring both Medicare and state administered Medicaid programs to identify and educate outlier providers writing an excessive number of opioid prescriptions (H.R. 5716).
Educate seniors on alternatives to opioids (H.R. 5685).
Welch is a member of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic and a senior member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.