Congressman Eliot L. Engel today voted in favor of H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, bipartisan legislation aimed at combating the ongoing opioid epidemic.
H.R. 6 will expand access to treatment for those grappling with addiction and ensure Medicaid coverage of all forms of medication-assisted treatment. The package also includes language from H.R. 5272, the RESULTS Act, legislation authored by Congressman Engel and Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH). It directs the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to issue new guidance to ensure that applicants for federal funds have the information they need to implement evidence-based solutions to the opioid crisis, as well as the tools necessary to emulate successful approaches in their communities.
"This legislation represents a needed step in the fight to end the opioid crisis, and I am proud to have played a role in crafting it," Engel said. "However, while an important step, it is still just that -- a step. It is not a panacea. We need sustained, long-term investment in treatment, and we need GOP attacks on basic consumer protections and affordable health care to end. As we vote on this package, the Trump Administration is working to unravel protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, like a substance use disorder.
"In Westchester County, 124 people died due to opioids in 2016, and in the Bronx, more New Yorkers died of overdoses than in any other borough. I am glad we have taken a step forward today, and I stand ready to continue the work needed to end this crisis for good."