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Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster

Representing the 2nd District of New Hampshire

Kuster, Fitzpatrick, Murphy Reintroduce Bipartisan Road to Recovery Act

Nov 21, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Today, Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02), Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), the Co-Chairs of the Bipartisan Opioid Taskforce, and Rep. Stephanie Murphy (FL-07) re-introduced the Road to Recovery Act – bipartisan legislation that would remove barriers to substance use disorder treatment services under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

This bill will specifically end Medicaid’s Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) exclusion for substance use disorder and helps to increase access for inpatient treatment for Medicaid and CHIP enrollees. The IMD exclusion is a long-standing policy that prohibits the federal Medicaid matching funds to states for services rendered to Medicaid-eligible individuals who are patients for SUD and mental health treatment. Some states – including Pennsylvania - have used an “in lieu of services” provision allowing for inpatient treatment, but with limitations on patient population, facility size, and length of stay.  These limitations disproportionately affect Medicaid beneficiaries.

“It is unacceptable that some of our most vulnerable Americans – including children, people with disabilities and those with limited incomes – who are enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP are not able to access the substance use disorder treatment they need,” said Rep. Kuster, the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Opioid Task Force. “This legislation aims to remove the barriers that are in place and help ensure those who are struggling with addiction have access to the care they need, benefiting the health of our communities and the economic wellbeing of our state. I’m pleased to introduce this much-needed, bipartisan measure alongside my colleagues and I’ll continue my efforts to combat the substance use epidemic plaguing communities across the country.” 

“I am proud to re-introduce the Road to Recovery Act with Reps. Kuster and Murphy. This bipartisan, commonsense legislation would remove the IMD exclusion for substance use disorder and help states expand access to inpatient addiction services for Medicaid enrollees in a fiscally responsible manner while not intruding on a state’s flexibility to implement care. The ‘IMD exclusion’ blocks access for the most vulnerable in our society,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “Pennsylvania has been overwhelmed by the opioid epidemic, and an important part of combatting this epidemic is by ensuring that more Americans can receive life-saving care. Our constituents need treatment for addiction, and they need it now.”

"Opioids have destroyed lives, families and communities throughout central Florida and this country," said Rep. Murphy. "Congress must pursue bipartisan solutions to end the opioid epidemic, which is why I'm proud to partner with Reps. Fitzpatrick and Kuster to introduce legislation to help ensure that men and women addicted to opioids can obtain the high-quality treatment they need and deserve."  

The opioid crisis is responsible for 67,000 overdose deaths in the United States in 2018. This bill makes the road to recovery more accessible through clearing the pathway to treatment services. According the US Department of Health and Human Services, substance abuse costs the country over $600 billion annually and based on conservative estimates, each dollar invested in addiction treatment programs yields a return of between $4 and $7 in reduced drug-related crime, criminal justice costs, and theft. When the return on investment is applied to healthcare costs, the total savings can exceed a ratio of 12:1.