Political briefs – Aug. 6


BROWN INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO SAVE LIVES AND REDUCE HEALTH CARE COSTS – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), along with U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced a bipartisan bill, Stopping Medication Abuse and Protecting Seniors Act, to prevent inappropriate access to opioids and improve patient care for at-risk beneficiaries.

“Americans all across the country have been affected by the growing public health crisis caused by addiction to opioids and other prescription drugs,” Brown said. “We should be doing more to help rehabilitate Ohioans who are suffering from drug addiction. This bill will help protect Medicare for future generations through better monitoring of prescription patterns on the part of doctors, pharmacies, and patients. By identifying those seniors who may be struggling with addiction, we can do more to help them recover. And by identifying bad actors who are fueling the prescription drug abuse epidemic by defrauding Medicare, we can help protect American taxpayers. It’s time to put an end to doctor shopping and pharmacy hopping.”

This drug abuse prevention plan, already operating in Medicaid and commercial plans, identifies a beneficiary with a history of drug abuse in Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage and locks the beneficiary into one prescriber and one pharmacy to reduce doctor and pharmacy shopping. It would also encourage insurers, Part D plan sponsors, and physicians to assist beneficiaries battling addiction in seeking substance abuse treatment. The bipartisan legislation will save taxpayers between $79 and $115 million over 10 years by eliminating fraudulent and medically unnecessary prescription payments from Medicare.

HUSTED ADVISES COUNTIES ON FUNDING FOR ELECTRONIC POLLBOOKS, ENCOURAGES LOCAL OFFICIALS TO IMPLEMENT – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today advised county boards of elections on the amount of funding available to each board for the implementation of e-pollbooks.

“E-Pollbooks are a great advancement in voter technology that will make elections simpler for both Ohio voters and the staff and volunteers who assist them on Election Day,” said Husted.

The state legislature appropriated $12.7 million to aid county governments in covering the cost of upgrading to e-pollbooks during the biennial budget (Am. Sub. H.B. 64) enacted on June 30.

IN MIDST OF SUMMER, BROWN MAINTAINS PRESSURE ON FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION TO CONTINUE PROGRESS IN DEVELOPING MORE EFFECTIVE SUNSCREEN – As Ohioans spend their summer months in the sun, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to continue working toward the strongest possible sunscreen products and ensure that they are properly marketed to consumers.

“Sunscreen products are critical to protecting our skin from harmful rays that can lead to skin cancer. But the U.S. hasn’t approved new over-the-counter sunscreen ingredients in over a decade despite our law aimed at expediting the review of new ingredients,” said Brown. “As Ohioans spend their summers outdoors, we must make sure they are protected. The FDA must continue developing new products and making sure consumers are aware of the protections the sunscreens they purchase provide.”

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Staff report

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