Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster

Representing the 2nd District of New Hampshire
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Nashua Telegraph: Kuster Backs Opioid Limit Bill

Feb 12, 2016
In The News

U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster co-sponsored new legislation this week designed to amend a flaw in the Affordable Care Act that indirectly incentivizes doctors to prescribe excessive opioids for pain relief.

Kuster, D-N.H., said the bill strikes a harmful provision in the federal law to encourage doctors prescribing medication in an effort to prevent patients from becoming dependent on the opioid, thus increasing the likelihood of becoming addiction.

Kuster co-sponsored the Promoting Responsible Opioid Prescribing Act with U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, a West Virginia Republican, who introduced the bill to fix what he called a technical modification to the ACA - known as Obamacare - to eliminate a possible penalty on physicians who refuse to overprescribe opioid drugs. There is a provision that links Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors to patients' self-assessed pain levels, which has at times led to overprescribing opioids.

The measure would remove the link between the self-assessed pain level and reimbursement rates, relieving doctors and medical centers of undue pressure when prescribing narcotic pain medicine.

"We must put an end to this epidemic once and for all - I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to come together and pass this important legislation without delay," Kuster, co-founder of the Bipartisan Task Force to End the Heroin Epidemic, said in a statement. "Around the country, families are losing loved ones to the devastating opioid epidemic that is sweeping across the nation. Far too many of those individuals struggling with opioid and heroin addiction first started after developing a dependence on prescription drugs."

Read more here.