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Paulsen Opioid Addiction Bill Clears Key Committee

Washington –The House Committee on Energy and Commerce yesterday approved legislation authored by Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN-03) that combats the opioid epidemic by educating seniors about the dangers of prescription painkillers. The Medicare Clear Health Options in Care for Enrollees (CHOICE) Act is bipartisan legislation authored by Paulsen and Reps. Ron Kind (WI-03), Connor Lamb (PA-18) and Chris Collins (NY-27).

The bill requires Medicare Part D prescription drug plans to inform beneficiaries about the adverse effects of opioids, as well as non-opioid alternative pain management therapies that could be used to treat patients.

“People don’t often think of seniors as an at-risk demographic when it comes to the opioid epidemic,”said Congressman Paulsen. “But half a million Medicare enrollees receive high amounts of opioids and nearly 90,000 are at ‘serious risk’ of misuse or overdose. Seniors need to understand the risks inherent in using opioids, and they should have an opportunity to learn more about alternatives that don’t pose the same risk of addiction.”

Paulsen’s legislation was part of a package of 26 bills addressing specific areas of the opioid crisis approved by the Committee yesterday. The bill is expected to be considered by the House Ways and Means Committee, of which Paulsen is a member, in the coming weeks.