Toomey touts support for opioid bill

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Zionsville, used a teleconference Monday to give a thumbs- up to legislation for helping fight the nation’s opioid problem.

The lawmaker noted that the bill contained several provisions among the range of programs in the legislation that he supports.

“I am very supportive of this legislation,” he said.

In fact, Toomey said he could cite nothing in the bill he opposed.

The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 adds around $8 billion in spending for fighting the opioid crisis, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

“I think this is an important step forward,” he said.

He said he expected passage of the bill Monday night.

Toomey said among the provisions of the bill he either authored or co-authorized is a section that works to improve prescribing for Medicare beneficiaries who are victims of opioid-related nonfatal overdoses. It instructs Medicare to identify individuals who have nearly died from overdosing on opioids and establishes a system for sharing the information with prescription drug plans, doctors and patients.

Toomey noted that the federal government is the world’s largest purchaser of opioids and therefore has a unique responsibility to administer them in an appropriate way.

“Medicare and Medicaid are not doing everything they can to minimize the opioid problem,” he said.

Other provisions of the bill supported by Toomey include use of an online portal to report suspicious activity of prescriptions and a mandate for electronic prescribing for controlled substances in Medicare Part D.

Toomey declined comment on recent allegations involving sexual and physical assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Christine Blasey Ford has alleged that at a party during their high school years, Kavanaugh pushed her into a bedroom along with his friend Mark Judge, attempted to remove her clothes and put his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream.

Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

Toomey in July announced his support for Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court judge.

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