Sinema-Backed Bipartisan Bill Addresses Opioid Epidemic

Feb 7, 2020

Senators’ bill helps Medicare patients access non-opioid alternatives

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema cosponsored the bipartisan NOPAIN Act—legislation helping Medicare patients access more non-opioid pain management alternatives and combating payment incentives that encouraged hospitals to prescribe opioids. 
“Prescribing less addictive medications and therapies instead of opioids is a commonsense way to cut down on over-prescription to vulnerable seniors and combat the opioid epidemic in Arizona,” said Sinema.
Currently, hospitals receive the same payment from Medicare regardless of whether a physician prescribes an opioid or a non-opioid. As a result, hospitals rely on opioids, which are typically dispensed by a pharmacy after discharge at little or no cost to the hospital, but are highly addictive. The bipartisan NOPAIN Act changes this policy by directing the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide separate Medicare reimbursement for non-opioid pain management treatments so hospitals are incentivized to prescribe non-opioid pain management treatments where it is appropriate and a safer choice for patients.
Sinema has been a champion to increase access to medication-assisted treatment for Arizonans suffering from substance abuse disorder in rural areas. Sinema cosponsored the bipartisan SUPPORT Act, which is now law, in the 115th Congress. This law increases access to medical treatment for opioid addiction and strengthen efforts to combat the opioid crisis, including the overprescribing of opioids to vulnerable seniors.