Ninety-Eight Lawmakers Derail Legislature's Efforts to Combat Opioid Abuse

Date: February 12, 2018

Bill would use national standards to help control prescription abuse and addiction in Workers’ Comp System

HARRISBURG (Feb. 12, 2018) – The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) expressed grave concern after the state House failed to pass HB 936, which creates a drug formulary within the PA workers’ compensation system. The measure would set guidelines for treatments and prescriptions based on widely accepted medical standards. The bill would address painkiller over-prescribing, fraud in the system, and control costs. 

“Given the Legislature’s interest in combating opioid abuse and addiction, it is inconceivable to me that lawmakers would vote against nationally-accepted standards for dispensing drugs to injured workers. But that is exactly what happened,” said Kevin Shivers executive state director for NFIB PA. “PA’s workers’ comp system prescribes more opioids to injured workers than virtually all other states. Formularies are widely accepted and already exist in CHIP and Medicare programs with good reason. They protect a patient’s health and safety.”

HB 936 passed the state Senate 34 to 16. Tuesday, the bill failed after the House deadlocked 98 to 98. The bill is to be reconsidered in March. NFIB urged lawmakers who voted against the bill to seriously reconsider.

“Not only does this bill address opioid overprescribing,” added Shivers, “but it routs out fraud by legal and medical professionals who abuse the system. There have been reports exposing those who use injured workers as pawns in their greedy schemes, prescribing questionable medications and charging exorbitant prices.

“It is also important to note that the bill requires that any savings must be returned to businesses in the form of lower premiums, and not given back to insurers. That helps small businesses burdened with high insurance costs.”

To see how your state House member voted on this important issue CLICK HERE.

Related Content: Small Business News | Pennsylvania | State

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