Updated Jun 14, 2018

The most important opioid bills in the House

Photo:Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The House is voting on this week on a slew of bills related to the opioid crisis. Most of them would only make incremental steps toward combatting the epidemic, but a handful could make a more serious difference.

Between the lines: Incremental doesn't mean unimportant — many of these bills plug important holes in the law. But the most significant legislation aims to reduce the number of prescription opioids in circulation, increase access to addiction treatment and crack down on fentanyl coming into the U.S. through the mail.

Increasing access to treatment: Possibly the most significant bill on the floor this week would lift what's called the IMD exclusion — a ban on federal Medicaid funding for mental health treatment facilities with more than 16 beds.

  • The bill that passed the Energy and Commerce Committee would let state Medicaid programs remove the exclusion for adult beneficiaries who have an opioid use disorder. Medicaid would pay for up to 30 days of care per year, until 2023.
  • Final details are still being negotiated before the bill comes to the House floor.

New prescription opioid policies: These aim to get excess and unused prescription opioids out of circulation.

  • One bill, which passed out of committee, would requires the Food and Drug Administration to work with drug companies on ways to return or destroy unused opioids.
  • It also would facilitate new forms of opioid packaging. One popular idea has been "blister packs," which would include a set number opioid pills instead of the common 30-day prescription.
  • Another proposal would allow more providers to use buprenorphine, a type of medication-assisted therapy.

Cracking down on imported fentanyl: The House has already passed a bill that gives the FDA more authority to seize fentanyl arriving through international mail.

Other notable bills would encourage the development of alternative pain treatments, create addiction treatment models and create a national dashboard linking efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.

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Trump rules out quarantine in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut after pushback

President Trump on the White House grounds on Saturdya. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Saturday night that he's decided not to introduce quarantine enforcement measures fo New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut, but a "strong" travel advisory will be issued for those states.

Why it matters: The president said hours earlier he was considering the move to combat the rise in novel coronavirus cases. But he received pushback, most notably from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who told CNN it would cause "chaos." "This would be a federal declaration of war on states," Cuomo added.

Go deeper: Updates on coronavirus in the U.S.

Trump weighs quarantine of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump said Saturday he's considering a short-term quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut, which have already taken steps to help residents isolate. Gov. Andrew Cuomo reacted to Trump's comments by telling CNN, "This would be a federal declaration of war on states" and that it would cause "chaos."

The big picture: With more than 121,000 people infected, the U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are reporting influxes of cases.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 660,706 — Total deaths: 30,652 — Total recoveries: 139,304.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 121,478 — Total deaths: 2,026 — Total recoveries: 1,072.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump is considering a quarantine on New York, parts of New Jersey and Connecticut.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters that supported Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are now balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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