On October 3rd, the United States Senate passed a bipartisan opioids package with a sweeping vote of 98 to 1, after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the final version of the bill with a vote of 393 to 8. The President signed the bill into law on October 24. The 660-page bill encompasses over 75 pieces of legislation from both the House and Senate and includes several provisions that would expand access to addiction treatment, including a proposal to allow Medicaid reimbursement for additional inpatient addiction treatment facilities by partially lifting the decades-old Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion rule. However, the bill did not address one of the most significant issues that arose during the development of the legislation: Part 2 privacy for substance abuse records.
Other policies focus broadly on prevention, research and data collection, payment and reimbursement, support for local communities, target patient populations, law enforcement, and prescribing processes and practices. While there appear to be many policy changes, some argue that the efforts are low-hanging fruit and that the bill does not include enough federal investment.