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Murphy Leads Effort to Revive Bipartisan Addiction Treatment Bill

December 4, 2019 by Dan McCue
Murphy Leads Effort to Revive Bipartisan Addiction Treatment Bill

WASHINGTON – Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., joined with Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and Annie Kuster, D-N.H., to re-introduce the Road to Recovery Act, a bill that would improve addiction treatment options under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Specifically, the bipartisan legislation would repeal a federal law — called the “IMD exclusion” — and authorize Medicaid and CHIP to cover treatment at licensed, accredited residential facilities for individuals addicted to opioids and other drugs.

The IMD exclusion is a long-standing policy that prohibits federal Medicaid matching funds to states for services rendered to Medicaid-eligible individuals who are patients for substance use disorder and mental health treatment.

Some states have used an “in lieu of services” provision allowing for inpatient treatment, but with limitations on patient population, facility size, and length of stay. These limitations disproportionately affect Medicaid beneficiaries.

“Opioids have destroyed lives, families and communities throughout central Florida and this country,” Rep. Murphy said.

“Congress must pursue bipartisan solutions to end the opioid epidemic, which is why I’m proud to partner with Reps. Fitzpatrick and Kuster to introduce legislation that will help ensure that men and women addicted to opioids can obtain the high-quality treatment they need and deserve,” she said.

“It is unacceptable that some of our most vulnerable Americans – including children, people with disabilities and those with limited incomes – who are enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP are not able to access the substance use disorder treatment they need,” said Kuster.

“This legislation aims to remove the barriers that are in place and help ensure those who are struggling with addiction have access to the care they need, benefiting the health of our communities and the economic wellbeing of our state.”

Fitzpatrick agreed.

“Pennsylvania has been overwhelmed by the opioid epidemic, and an important part of combatting this epidemic is by ensuring that more Americans can receive life-saving care. Our constituents need treatment for addiction, and they need it now,” he said.

The opioid crisis was responsible for 67,000 overdose deaths in the United States in 2018.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, substance abuse costs the country more than $600 billion annually and, based on conservative estimates, each dollar invested in addiction treatment programs yields a return of $4 to $7 in reduced drug-related crime, criminal justice costs, and theft.

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