Issue: Health Care

Walorski Votes for Bills to Lower Health Care Costs, Expand Patient Choice

Walorski Votes for Bills to Lower Health Care Costs, Expand Patient Choice

House Passes Legislation to Delay Health Insurance Tax, Modernize Health Savings Accounts

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today voted for two bills aimed at expanding consumer-directed health care and lowering premiums for individuals and families.

“With rising premiums and fewer options, Hoosier families need more affordable health care and more control over how they pay for it,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “These commonsense solutions will improve flexibility, expand consumer choice, and bring down costs. By delaying the costly health insurance tax and modernizing tax-advantaged health savings accounts, we are taking an important step to empower families and help ease the financial burden of health care.”

BACKGROUND

H.R. 6311, the Increasing Access to Lower Premium Plans and Expanding Health Savings Accounts Act, which passed the House by a vote of 242 to 176, would:

  • Make more individuals eligible for tax-advantaged health savings accounts (HSAs) and increase allowable contributions;
  • Allow flexible spending account (FSA) balances to be carried forward each year;
  • Allow anyone in the individual market to access lower cost “catastrophic” plans;
  • Make “bronze” and “catastrophic” plans eligible for an HSA; and
  • Delay Obamacare’s health insurance tax for an additional two years, providing relief from premium increases caused by the tax.

H.R. 6199, the Restoring Access to Medication and Modernizing Health Savings Accounts Act, which passed the House by a vote of 277 to 142, would expand the range of qualified medical expenses, including allowing health savings account (HSA) funds to be used for over-the-counter medical products.

Walorski spoke on the House floor in support of the provision in H.R. 6311 that would delay the health insurance tax for two years. In May, Walorski helped introduce H.R. 5963, bipartisan legislation to delay the tax until after 2020.

Video of Walorski speaking on the House floor is available here. The full text of her remarks is below.

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I rise in support of H.R. 6311, the Increasing Access to Lower Premium Plans and Expanding Health Savings Accounts Act.

“This important bill contains a two-year delay of the Health Insurance Tax, or HIT. Like the medical device tax, which the House voted yesterday to repeal, the HIT is yet another damaging tax from Obamacare. It raises premiums for families, small businesses, and seniors and the disabled enrolled in Medicare Advantage. In fact, the HIT could raise annual premiums for the typical Medicare Advantage couple by $500 if it returns in 2020.

“I’m a proud original cosponsor with Representatives Noem, Sinema, and Bera of HR 5963, which delays the HIT for two years, and I’m thrilled the bill we’re voting on today includes it.

“I look forward to the day when we can finally repeal this tax that falls on the backs of seniors, the disabled, small businesses, and hardworking families, but until then I urge my colleagues to support delaying it and I yield back.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Votes to Repeal Job-Killing Medical Device Tax

Walorski Votes to Repeal Job-Killing Medical Device Tax

House Passes Permanent Repeal of Tax That Puts Hoosier Jobs and Innovation at Risk

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today voted to repeal the job-killing medical device tax and protect Hoosier jobs in the innovative medical device manufacturing industry.

“Our economy is booming because of historic tax cuts and regulatory reforms, and we need to keep that momentum going,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “It’s time to end the medical device tax once and for all. Permanently repealing this job-killing tax will protect Hoosier workers and help patients access the life-saving medical technology they need.”

The House passed H.R. 184, the Protect Medical Innovation Act, which would permanently repeal the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device sales, by a vote of 283 to 132. Congress earlier this year suspended the tax through 2019. Walorski in December introduced H.R. 4617, which would have suspended the medical device tax for five years.

Video of Walorski speaking on the House floor in support of H.R. 184 is available here. The full text of her remarks is below.

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I rise today in support of H.R. 184, the Protect Medical Innovation Act.

“This legislation will permanently repeal the job-killing medical device tax. Hoosiers are proud to be leaders in medical innovation, with more than 300 medical device manufacturers in our state that support nearly 55,000 jobs. These are high-paying jobs, with workers in the industry earning about $50,000 per year on average.

“However, after Obamacare’s medical device tax took effect, the industry lost almost 29,000 good-paying jobs nationwide from 2012 to 2015, according to Commerce Department data. That’s why Congress took bipartisan action in 2015 to suspend the tax for two years, and did so again earlier this year. But if it goes back into effect after 2019, it will impede new discoveries and stifle medical innovation while destroying good jobs.

“Right now, our economy is booming because of historic tax cuts and regulatory reforms, and we need to keep that momentum going. It’s time to end the medical device tax once and for all. Permanently repealing this job-killing tax will protect American workers and help patients access the life-saving medical technology they need.

“Mr. Speaker, the medical device tax would have a devastating impact on Hoosier workers and people from across the country who depend on these products. The Protect Medical Innovation Act will boost American innovation and manufacturing, and it will encourage medical research and development that make a real difference in people’s lives. I urge my colleagues to support this vital piece of legislation, and I yield back.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Votes to Send Health Care Bills to House Floor

Walorski Votes to Send Health Care Bills to House Floor

Ways and Means Committee Approves Measures to Expand Consumer Choice, Lower Costs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today voted in the Ways and Means Committee to send a series of health care bills to the House floor that would improve flexibility, expand consumer choice, and lower costs for families.

“With rising premiums and fewer options, Hoosier families need more affordable health care and more control over how they pay for it,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “These bills are all about flexibility, consumer choice, and bringing down costs. We are one step closer to helping families reduce the burdens of health care expenses and empowering them to better plan for the future.”

BACKGROUND

The Ways and Means Committee this week approved 11 bills aimed at expanding consumer-directed health care and lowering premiums for individuals and families.

The legislation included measures to expand and modernize tax-advantaged health savings accounts (HSAs), allow for an off-ramp from Obamacare’s rising premiums, provide retroactive relief from the burdensome employer mandate, and further delay the health care law’s costly “Cadillac tax.”

Walorski spoke at the committee markup about H.R. 6313, the Responsible Additions and Increases to Sustain Employee Health Benefits Act of 2018, which would allow balances in flexible spending accounts (FSAs) to be carried forward each year. The bill would repeal the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule that prohibits rolling over FSA balances. Video of Walorski’s remarks on H.R. 6313 is available here.

The committee approved the following bills for consideration on the House floor:

  • H.R. 6199 – reverses Obamacare’s prohibition on using tax-favored health accounts to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) medical products and adds feminine or “menstrual care” products to the list of qualified medical expenses for the purposes of these tax-favored health accounts.
  • H.R. 6301 – expands access and enhances the utility of health savings accounts (HSAs) by offering health plans a certain amount of flexibility in their plan design while still maintaining eligibility for HSA contributions. This flexibility will allow insurers to offer coverage for high-value, low-cost services like telehealth, chronic disease management (e.g. diabetic testing strips), or primary care visits below the deductible.
  • H.R. 6305 – expands access and enhances the utility of HSAs through three common-sense improvements to the rules governing HSAs: (1) clarifying that certain employment related services (such as on-site clinics) are not treated as disqualifying coverage for purposes of HSAs; (2) allowing an eligible individual to make HSA contributions if a spouse has a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), provided that FSA does not also reimburse for expenses of the spouse with the HSA; and (3) allowing FSA and Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) terminations or conversions to fund HSAs.
  • H.R. 6317 –  allows HSA-eligible individuals that participate in a direct primary care (DPC) arrangement not to lose their HSA-eligibility merely because of their participation in a DPC. In addition, it allows DPC provider fees to be paid for out of HSAs.
  • H.R. 6312 – adds qualified sports and fitness expenses to the definition of qualified medical expenses.
  • H.R. 6309 – expands access to HSAs for working seniors.
  • H.R. 6306 – expands access and enhances the utility of HSAs by: (1) increasing the contributions limits for HSAs; (2) permitting spousal catch-up contributions into the same account; and (3) creating a grace period for medical expenses incurred before the establishment of an HSA.
  • H.R. 6314 – expands eligibility and access to HSAs by allowing plans categorized as catastrophic and bronze in the individual and small group markets to qualify for HSA contributions.
  • H.R. 6311 – provides an off-ramp from Obamacare’s rising premiums and limited choices by allowing the premium tax credit to be used for qualified plans offered outside of the law’s exchanges and Healthcare.gov. In addition, it expands access to the lowest-premium plans available (“catastrophic” plans) for all individuals purchasing coverage in the individual market and allows the premium tax credit to be used to offset the cost of such plans.
  • H.R. 6313 – allows balances in FSAs to be carried forward each year.
  • H.R. 4616 – provides retroactive relief from Obamacare’s employer mandate and one additional year of delay in the implementation of the law’s Cadillac tax.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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House Passes Walorski Opioid Bill Named for Hoosier Doctor

House Passes Walorski Opioid Bill Named for Hoosier Doctor

Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management, Treatment, and Recovery Act Would Address Opioid Epidemic by Improving Access to Non-Addictive Pain Treatments

WASHINGTON – The House today passed bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) to combat the opioid epidemic by improving access to non-opioid pain treatments. The bipartisan bill was named in honor of Dr. Todd Graham, the South Bend doctor who was shot to death last summer after refusing to write a prescription for opioid painkillers.

“The opioid epidemic continues to tear apart families and devastate communities all over the country,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “We all need to work together to find commonsense solutions to prevent and treat addiction. Before he was tragically killed, Dr. Todd Graham was leading the way in treating the underlying causes of pain rather than simply prescribing pills. The bipartisan legislation that just passed the House will help build on his legacy by breaking down barriers to non-opioid treatments and giving doctors better tools to prevent addiction and assist in recovery.”

The Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management, Treatment, and Recovery Act (H.R. 6110) passed the House unanimously by voice vote. Dr. Graham’s wife Julie was at the Capitol for the bill’s passage. Video of Congresswoman Walorski speaking on the House floor about the legislation is available here.

BACKGROUND

The House in recent days has passed dozens of bills to prevent opioid abuse, support addiction treatment and recovery, and combat the shipment and sale of illegal drugs. H.R. 6110 is an updated version of legislation Walorski introduced to reduce overprescribing of opioids by examining ways to expand the use of non-opioid alternatives in Medicare. The legislation was recently approved by the Ways and Means Committee.

Among other provisions, H.R. 6110 would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to study ways to improve access to non-opioid pain management treatments. HHS would solicit stakeholder feedback, conduct a study, and submit recommendations to Congress improving payment, coverage, and coding policies related to the use of multi-disciplinary, evidence-based non-opioid treatments for acute and chronic pain management for beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Part A or B. The study would include an evaluation of possible coverage and payment barriers that prevent Medicare beneficiaries from accessing non-opioid alternative pain treatments and technologies.

H.R. 6110 also includes steps to improve treatment strategies and case management for various high-risk patient populations. It also includes other bipartisan provisions to ensure there are no misaligned financial incentives to prescribe opioids over non-opioid alternatives, and it provides best practices and educational resources for the expansion of addiction treatment for those suffering from mental or behavioral health issues, particularly in rural areas.

Todd A. Graham, M.D., a doctor with more than three decades of service, was shot and killed on July 26th, 2017, after refusing to prescribe an opioid painkiller to the shooter’s wife. Dr. Graham was a double board-certified physician in both Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Pain Medicine.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski: We Are Taking Action to Fight Opioid Abuse

Walorski: We Are Taking Action to Fight Opioid Abuse

House Passes Dozens of Bills to Address Epidemic; Will Consider Walorski’s Legislation Named for Dr. Todd Graham

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today applauded the passage of dozens of bills in the House aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic through prevention, treatment, recovery, and law enforcement efforts.

Next week, the House will consider legislation Walorski introduced to improve access to non-opioid pain treatments. The bill is named for Dr. Todd Graham, the South Bend doctor who was shot to death after refusing to write a prescription for opioid painkillers.

“Opioid abuse is a crisis that affects every community in America, and we are taking action to help fight this epidemic,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “These commonsense solutions will help prevent opioid abuse, treat addiction, and support recovery so people can rebuild their lives. I look forward to continuing our work next week, when the House will consider my bipartisan legislation, named in honor of Dr. Todd Graham, that aims to fight the opioid crisis by expanding access to non-addictive alternatives to treat pain.”

BACKGROUND

The House this week passed more than two dozen bills to prevent opioid abuse, support addiction treatment and recovery, and combat the shipment and sale of illegal drugs. The measures approved by the House include legislation to:

  • Crack down on the shipment of illicit synthetic opioids into the U.S. from overseas (H.R. 5788 – Securing the International Mail Against Opioids Act);
  • Prevent drug traffickers from circumventing the law by creating chemically-altered synthetic drugs (H.R. 2851 – Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act);
  • Support transitional housing for individuals recovering from opioid addiction (H.R. 5735 – THRIVE Act);
  • Help veterans access treatment for mental health or substance abuse issues (H.R. 2147 – Veterans Treatment Court Improvement Act);
  • Expand peer-to-peer counseling for women veterans (H.R. 4635);
  • Encourage innovative research into non-addictive pain medications (H.R. 5002 – ACE Research Act); and
  • Reduce the number of unused prescription drugs at risk of misuse (H.R. 5041 – Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act).

Next week, the House will consider additional legislation to combat the opioid epidemic, including a bill Walorski introduced to expand access to non-opioid alternatives for pain treatment. The Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management, Treatment, and Recovery Act (H.R. 6110) aims to reduce overprescribing of opioids by examining ways to expand the use of non-opioid alternatives in Medicare

H.R. 6110 is an updated version of legislation introduced by Walorski and recently approved by the Ways and Means Committee. Among other provisions, it would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to study ways to improve access to non-opioid pain management treatments. HHS would solicit stakeholder feedback, conduct a study, and submit recommendations to Congress improving payment, coverage, and coding policies related to the use of multi-disciplinary, evidence-based non-opioid treatments for acute and chronic pain management for beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Part A or B. The study would include an evaluation of possible coverage and payment barriers that prevent Medicare beneficiaries from accessing non-opioid alternative pain treatments and technologies.

Todd A. Graham, M.D., a doctor with more than three decades of service, was shot and killed on July 26th, 2017, after refusing to prescribe an opioid painkiller to the shooter’s wife. Dr. Graham was a double board-certified physician in both Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Pain Medicine.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Opposes Cuts to Children’s Health Insurance Program

Walorski Opposes Cuts to Children’s Health Insurance Program

Votes Against Legislation That Would Cut CHIP Funding

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today voted against legislation that would cut funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which Congress recently extended for 10 years.

“Congress needs to make tough decisions to get our national debt under control, but fiscal responsibility should not come at the cost of children’s health care,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “I do not support cutting funding for CHIP just months after we passed the longest extension in the history of this vital program. I was also concerned that cutting funding to fight agricultural disease outbreaks would hurt family farmers who depend on these efforts. We must cut wasteful spending and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars, but we must do so in ways that do not harm Hoosier families.”

BACKGROUND

Walorski voted against H.R. 3, which would cut $5.1 billion from the Children Health Insurance Fund and $148 million from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

In February, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act (H.R. 1892) with Walorski’s support. The legislation, which President Trump signed into law, established long-term funding levels and extended CHIP funding for 10 years.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Introduces Bipartisan Legislation Ensuring Patient Access to Critical Breakthrough Products

Walorski Introduces Bipartisan Legislation Ensuring Patient Access to Critical Breakthrough Products

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today joined Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) in introducing the Ensuring Patient Access to Critical Breakthrough Products Act of 2018 (H.R. 5997), a bill that would guarantee Medicare beneficiaries access to cutting edge medical innovation. The bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), and Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.).

Currently, Medicare does not automatically cover the latest advances in medical technology. This is true even for medical devices that are approved through the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) expedited review process. The lag between FDA’s approval and Medicare’s coverage determination can take up to three years. The Ensuring Patient Access to Critical Breakthrough Products Act would require Medicare to cover all breakthrough products that are approved through the FDA’s expedited review process for three years. Within those three years Medicare must make a permanent coverage determination. For a medical device to earn the “breakthrough” designation the new technology must meet the following criteria:

  • provides more effective treatment or diagnosis of life-threatening or irreversibly debilitating diseases or conditions;
  • has no approved alternatives;
  • offers significant advantages over existing approved alternatives; or
  • availability is in the best interest of patients.

“The best way to encourage life-saving medical innovation is to remove unnecessary barriers to patients getting the cutting-edge medical products they need,” Rep. Walorski said. “By allowing Medicare patients to access breakthrough technologies faster, the Patient Access to Critical Breakthroughs Act will expand treatment options for patients and open new doors for future innovative therapies and cures.”

“It makes no sense that Medicare drags it feet to cover cutting edge technologies especially when the FDA works to expedite their own review process for these same treatments. Seniors shouldn’t have to wait to access medical products that can change or even save their lives,” Rep. DelBene said. “The guaranteed coverage of these breakthrough technologies will also foster investment in the industry and which will yield greater advances in the future.”

“America’s medical device manufacturers and innovators are working every day to develop cutting-edge life-saving therapies and devices,” said Rep. Terri A. Sewell. “We must ensure that the review and approval process for breakthrough therapies doesn’t inhibit patient access to the most innovative and effective technologies coming to market. The introduction of the Ensuring Patient Access to Critical Breakthrough Products Act of 2018 is a step towards streamlining the regulatory process and ensuring that these devices reach the patients who need them in a timely manner.”

“This legislation will help millions of seniors on Medicare by ensuring more timely access to the treatments they need,” said Congressman Bilirakis. “Additionally, there are more than 600 medical device companies in our state working to develop innovative and effective products.  During a roundtable discussion in my district, I heard from many of these businesses about how these lengthy and unnecessary Medicare coverage delays create a significant barrier in bringing new products to market. This bill is about connecting patients with important devices and technologies more quickly. Additionally, it is about encouraging innovation rather than stifling it. Government has to get out of the way and streamline the payment process for effective new devices that can ultimately help improve and save lives.”

“I am proud to co-sponsor this bill, as it would streamline Medicare coverage for approved technologies that go through the FDA’s medical device review process. This would provide patients with timely access to life-saving innovations. It would also promote a more efficient regulatory ecosystem so that the roughly 1,700 medical device companies in California could continue to develop and innovate and spend more time taking care of customers in need,” said Rep. Cardenas.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Bill to Combat Opioid Epidemic Approved by Committee

Walorski Bill to Combat Opioid Epidemic Approved by Committee

Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management Improvement Act Would Improve Access to Non-Opioid Alternative Treatments

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today applauded committee passage of her bipartisan legislation to combat the opioid epidemic by improving access to non-opioid pain treatments.

The Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management Improvement Act (H.R. 5722), named for the South Bend doctor shot to death after refusing to write a prescription for opioid painkillers, was approved by the Ways and Means Committee as part of broader legislation to address opioid abuse. Dr. Graham’s wife Julie was in the audience as the committee voted to send the legislation to the House floor.

“Opioid abuse is a serious crisis in our communities, and we need to work together to find commonsense solutions to prevent and treat addiction,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Before he was tragically killed, Dr. Todd Graham was leading the way in treating the underlying causes of pain rather than simply prescribing pills. With this bipartisan legislation, we can give doctors better tools to treat pain and prevent addiction so they can follow Dr. Graham’s example.”

“Todd’s mission as a doctor was to help his patients by treating their pain, not just masking it,” Julie Graham said. “He understood how important non-opioid alternatives are to preventing addiction and helping people lead better lives. I can’t think of a better way to honor Todd’s legacy than to help his fellow doctors give their patients the care that’s right for them.”

BACKGROUND

Video of Congresswoman Walorski speaking about the Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management Improvement Act at the committee markup can be found here.

H.R. 5722 aims to reduce overprescribing of opioids by examining ways to expand the use of non-opioid alternatives in Medicare. It was included in the Medicare and Opioid Safe Treatment (MOST) Act (H.R. 5776), one of several bills passed by the Ways and Means Committee to address the opioid crisis.

H.R. 5722 would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to study ways to improve access to non-opioid pain management treatments. HHS would solicit stakeholder feedback, conduct a study, and submit recommendations to Congress improving payment, coverage, and coding policies related to the use of multi-disciplinary, evidence-based non-opioid treatments for acute and chronic pain management for beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Part A or B. The study would include an evaluation of possible coverage and payment barriers that prevent Medicare beneficiaries from accessing non-opioid alternative pain treatments and technologies. More details on the legislation and the full bill text are available here.

Todd A. Graham, M.D., a doctor with more than three decades of service, was shot and killed on July 26th, 2017, after refusing to prescribe an opioid painkiller to the shooter’s wife. Dr. Graham was a double board-certified physician in both Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Pain Medicine.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Introduces Legislation to Combat Opioid Epidemic

Walorski Introduces Legislation to Combat Opioid Epidemic

Bipartisan Bill Named for Dr. Todd Graham, South Bend Doctor Killed After Refusing to Prescribe Opioids, Aims to Expand Non-Opioid Treatments

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today introduced bipartisan legislation to combat the opioid epidemic by improving access to non-opioid pain treatments. The Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management Improvement Act (H.R. 5722), named for the South Bend doctor shot to death after refusing to write a prescription for opioid painkillers, aims to reduce overprescribing of opioids by examining ways to expand the use of non-opioid alternatives in Medicare. Walorski was joined by Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) in introducing the bill.

“Opioid abuse is devastating families and communities across the country, and the senseless murder of my dear friend Dr. Todd Graham was a tragic reminder of how serious this crisis is,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “We have already taken steps to reduce overprescribing of opioids, but we must do more to ensure patients have access to non-addictive pain management options. As we continue working toward commonsense solutions to the opioid epidemic, this bipartisan bill will help break down barriers to non-opioid treatments and give doctors better tools to prevent addiction.”

“As opioid addiction impacts families in every community across the country, it’s imperative that we find alternatives to keep more individuals from that destructive path. That starts with expanding options for patients,” said Rep. Chu. “And with millions of beneficiaries, Medicare is one of our best tools for that. When it comes to combatting this crisis, patients need to have access to every tool in the toolbox that can help treat and manage pain. I want to thank Jackie Walorski for her hard work on this bill as well. The opioid epidemic knows no partisanship, and I am proud to partner with Rep. Walorski to bring life-saving alternatives to opioids to more Americans.”

BACKGROUND

The Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management Improvement Act of 2018 would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct a study and submit recommendations to Congress on improving access to non-opioid pain management treatments.

H.R. 5722 would direct HHS to solicit stakeholder feedback and conduct a study on ways to improve payment, coverage, and coding policies related to the use of multi-disciplinary, evidence-based non-opioid treatments for acute and chronic pain management for beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Part A or B. The study would include an evaluation of possible coverage and payment barriers that prevent Medicare beneficiaries from accessing non-opioid alternative pain treatments and technologies.

The study would include evaluations of potential legislative and administrative changes to Medicare to allow beneficiaries better access to non-opioid treatments for pain, such as cognitive behavioral interventions, physical therapy, occupational therapy, physical medicine, biofeedback, chiropractic, and acupuncture therapy. It would also provide analysis of Medicare coverage and payment for medical devices, non-opioid based drugs, and other therapies (including interventional and integrative pain therapies) approved or cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of pain.

In addition, the bill would direct HHS to analyze the VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for Management of Opioid Therapy for Chronic Pain to consider whether the adoption of the VA/DoD pain rating scale would be more beneficial to Medicare patients with chronic pain.

The bill would also require HHS to develop recommendations on legislative and administrative action in the following policy areas:

  • Expanding coverage and payment for non-opioid pain management therapy options that minimize the risk of substance use disorder;
  • Treatment strategies for beneficiaries with psychiatric disorders or substance use disorders, those who are at risk of suicide, or those with other comorbidities that require specialty care;
  • Appropriate case management for beneficiaries who transition between inpatient and outpatient settings, or between opioid therapy to non-opioid therapy; and
  • Outreach to educate Medicare beneficiaries and providers on alternative, non-opioid therapies to manage and treat acute and chronic pain, including potential creation of a beneficiary education tool.

HHS would consult with stakeholders, including frontline provider and beneficiary groups, to ensure input is provided from across the medical community.

Todd A. Graham, M.D., a doctor with more than three decades of service, was shot and killed on July 26th, 2017, after refusing to prescribe an opioid painkiller to the shooter’s wife. Dr. Graham was a double board-certified physician in both Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Pain Medicine.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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House Passes Bill to Rebuild Military, Invest in Infrastructure, Boost Opioid Response

House Passes Bill to Rebuild Military, Invest in Infrastructure, Boost Opioid Response

FY18 Funding Legislation Also Includes Walorski Provision to Reduce Costs and Red Tape for American Manufacturers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement after the House passed legislation to rebuild the military, give servicemembers a raise, invest in infrastructure, combat the opioid crisis, and help American manufacturers and farmers:

“After years of neglect, our Armed Forces are finally getting the resources necessary to begin rebuilding, boost military readiness, and defend our nation from any enemy. With this bill, we are delivering on our constitutional obligation to provide for the common defense. And we are giving our troops the tools, training, and support they need – including their biggest pay raise in eight years.

“We are also making key investments in fighting the opioid epidemic, modernizing our nation’s infrastructure, securing our borders, making schools safer, and supporting American manufacturers, farmers, and small businesses. This is a critical step as we continue building on the economic momentum from pro-growth reforms and working toward commonsense solutions that help Hoosier families thrive.”

BACKGROUND

The House passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (H.R. 1625) by a vote of 256 to 167. The bill, which provides funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2018, now heads to the Senate.

National Defense: Supports rebuilding our Armed Forces by providing the largest increase in defense funding in 15 years, including resources to increase troop levels, boost military readiness, improve training, and invest in maintenance and new equipment. It also funds a 2.4 percent pay raise for our servicemembers – their biggest in eight years.

Veterans: Includes record funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), including more resources for health care, addiction treatment, and facility improvements.

Opioids: Provides nearly $4 billion to help communities fight the opioid epidemic – the largest federal investment to date – including funding for treatment, prevention, and law enforcement.

Manufacturers: Cuts costs and red tape for American manufacturers, including in the RV industry, with a provision Walorski authored to fix a technical issue in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) tariff relief program, which is reauthorized for three years.

Farmers: Fixes the Section 199A “grain glitch,” a drafting error in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to ensure farmers get the same tax benefits when they sell to private companies as they would when selling to co-ops. Walorski recently signed a letter urging congressional leaders to quickly resolve the issue.

Infrastructure: Invests in building a modern infrastructure for the 21st century, including roads, bridges, public transit, airways, railways, waterways, energy, and broadband. Walorski led

Border Security: Boosts border security by funding $2.9 billion in security improvements and technology, including $1.57 billion to begin construction of the border wall.

School Safety: Protects students by implementing key provisions of the STOP School Violence Act, which the House passed last week, and providing more than $2.3 billion in new funding for mental health, training, and school safety programs. The bill also fixes and fully funds the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS) to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals while protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.

Tax Cuts: Ensures the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has the resources necessary to fully implement the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the historic tax reform law that cut taxes for Americans at all income levels and restored America’s economic competitiveness.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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