Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
Senator Casey is deeply concerned by the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic, which is affecting families and communities in all corners of Pennsylvania. He is committed to fighting for the resources communities need to save lives and support individuals with substance use disorders who are trying to rebuild their lives in recovery.
Reversing the tragic trend of opioid overdose deaths is a top priority for Senator Casey. Senator Casey is a member of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and the Committee on Finance, both of which oversee policies and programs related to substance use disorder and health care. Senator Casey is using his positions on these committees, and his role as Ranking Member of the Special Committee on Aging, to protect Medicaid, expand and protect health care access for all individuals with substance use disorders and promote evidence-based treatment and intervention programs.
Supporting Funding for Local Communities
Senator Casey helped to secure over $7 billion in new funding to combat the opioid epidemic, including $1 billion in the 21st Century Cures Act and $6 billion in the 2018 budget deal. He will continue to fight for the resources Pennsylvania communities need to address the epidemic.
Senator Casey authored the Combating the Opioid Epidemic Act to provide $45 billion to address the opioid crisis. More than $44 billion will go to states over 10 years to help them address the crisis, while more than $250 million will be used to fund research on addiction and pain. It is based on a similar provision in a Senate Republican scheme to repeal the Affordable Care Act. However, unlike this Republican proposal, Senator Casey’s legislation provides this funding without curtailing access to substance use treatment by decimating Medicaid and shredding coverage requirements for private insurance plans.
Promoting Access to Treatment & Opioid Education
Senator Casey supported the 21st Century Cures Act, which included $1 billion in new funding to support access to treatment for individuals with opioid use disorders. Pennsylvania received $53 million of that funding.
Senator Casey supported the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which authorized multiple programs to support evidence-based treatment and intervention programs.
Senator Casey has been a leader in the effort to expand and protect the Medicaid program. Medicaid expansion has been pivotal to increasing the availability of treatment for opioid use disorder. In 2016, Medicaid covered treatment for four in ten adults with an opioid use disorder and in 2014, Medicaid was the 2nd largest payer, second only to state and local government programs, for opioid treatment.
Senator Casey introduced the bipartisan Medicare Beneficiary Opioid Addiction Act to ensure seniors living with an opioid use disorder have access to the treatment that is right for them. Stemming from the Senator's work, the Senate Finance Committee passed a demonstration program to cover key opioid treatments in Medicare in June 2018.