When Kidney News went to print, the U.S. House of Representatives had passed H.R. 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act. Passed with bipartisan support, H.R. 6 combines provisions from more than 50 bills approved individually by the House.
The bill is designed to help overall efforts to combat the opioid crisis by advancing treatment and recovery initiatives, bolstering prevention efforts, and trying to counter deadly illicit synthetic drugs like fentanyl.
A last-minute addition to the legislative package in the House would extend by three months the period people with chronic kidney failure must wait before they become eligible for Medicare coverage. Lawmakers inserted the change—which is projected to save the government $290 million over a decade—to help pay for their slew of new initiatives aimed at curbing opioid misuse. The bill passed the House by a vote of 396–14.
The bill then headed to the Senate, where lawmakers were planning to take up their own opioid legislation. At press time, a House Republican aide said leadership hopes to conference the bills in July, although it could slide later into the summer depending on the Senate’s schedule. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R–TN) is leading efforts to combine bills from his committee and the Senate Finance and Judiciary committees into a package that would go to the Senate floor.
Here are the major provisions of the legislation.