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Kaine Cosponsors Bipartisan Legislation to Address Opioid Epidemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, announced his co-sponsorship of the bipartisan Non-Opioids Prevent Addiction in the Nation (NOPAIN) Act, legislation to help address barriers to non-opioid pain management for those enrolled in Medicare and stem the opioid epidemic across the nation. The NOPAIN Act was first introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Joe Manchin (D-WV).

“We must do more to address the opioid epidemic that has devastated far too many communities across the Commonwealth,” said Senator Kaine. “I’m proud to support this bipartisan legislation, which takes commonsense steps toward fighting this public health crisis by encouraging health providers to prescribe alternatives to opioids for pain management for Medicare patients.”

Under current law, hospitals receive the same payment from Medicare regardless of whether a physician prescribes an opioid or uses a non-opioid for post-surgical pain. As a result, hospitals rely on opioids, which are typically dispensed by a pharmacy after discharge at little or no cost to the hospital. The NOPAIN Act would change this policy by directing CMS to provide separate Medicare reimbursement for non-opioid treatments used to manage post-surgical pain in both the hospital outpatient department (HOPD) and the ambulatory surgery center (ASC) settings.

Kaine has been a leading voice in the Senate in addressing the opioid and substance use crisis that has harmed Virginia communities. In 2018, Kaine played a critical role in the passage of a comprehensive bill to better address opioid and substance use disorder treatment and prevention. Last year, Kaine sent a letter urging House and Senate leadership to increase the federal investment for state, local, and tribal governments as well as treatment providers who are leading our nation’s response to the ongoing opioid and substance use epidemic. In March, Kaine voted in favor of the American Rescue Plan, which among many things provided Virginia with nearly $70 million in funding to bolster mental-health and substance-abuse programs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.