Press Releases

Today, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) voted with a bipartisan majority to pass the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act, which includes a provision written and introduced by Rep. Peters to incentivize the use of innovative, non-opioid painkillers and make them available to Medicare patients.

“The opioid crisis has devastated communities across the country and a large part of addressing the epidemic is stopping addiction where it frequently begins: after surgery. The bill passed today includes my bipartisan proposal to help provide patients and doctors with alternatives to opioids for pain management following surgery. By encouraging the development of non-opioid alternatives and making them available to patients once they reach the market, we hope to prevent patients from becoming addicted to opioids in the first place,” said Rep. Peters. “I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this bill, or similar legislation, to support medical innovation that can curb the ongoing epidemic.”

Under current law, Medicare pays hospitals a fixed amount for a procedure, like surgery, including reimbursement for painkillers. Opioids are frequently prescribed because they are Medicare’s pre-approved, lower-cost pain management option and reimbursement levels don’t cover the higher cost of alternative pain medication. To receive a higher reimbursement rate under Rep. Peters’ legislation, newly developed non-opioid painkillers must demonstrate an improvement from current market alternatives, as determined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The bill passed today includes Rep. Peters’ proposal that provides a market incentive to research and develop new non-opioid painkillers that will be available to Medicare recipients--and all in need of an opioid alternative--to use.

In 2016, Rep. Peters helped pass more than a dozen bills aimed at a comprehensive solution to the opioid crisis, the use of new technology for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to fight the spread of fentanyl, and the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act with significant funding boosts directed at addressing opioid abuse.