Obama said in a statement, "We are now one step closer to ending cancer as we know it, unlocking cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s, and helping people seeking treatment for opioid addiction finally get the help they need. . . . This bill will make a big difference."
The $1 billion for opioid prevention efforts and expanded access to treatment for substance use disorders is to be spent over the next two years in $500 million allotments. The money will be allocated through need-based grants.
|Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack|
Among other things, the measure strengthens the enforcement of requirements to treat behavioral disorders like other diseases, includes grants to increase the number of mental-health providers, works to promote early intervention for psychosis and creates a new position to oversee the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It also eliminates the Medicaid "same day" exclusion, which prohibits separate payment for mental health and primary care services to a Medicaid enrollee on the same day.
But not everyone loves the bill. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., warned that the bill is a giveaway to pharmaceutical companies, will weaken regulatory standards on drugs, doesn't provide enough money for medical research and does nothing to address the rising cost of medications, Fortune. Other senators voting against the bill were Ron Wyden, D-Ore. and Mike Lee, R-Utah.