White House Responds to Commission Recommendations
This weekend the White House released its response to the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. The Commission was Chaired by Governor Christie and included former Congressman Patrick Kennedy. It met numerous times in an attempt to understand the gravity of the opioid crisis as well as Substance Use Disorder (SUD) in general. The National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) was pleased with the recommendations, particularly as they related to enforcement of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Parity) and elimination of the 16-bed IMD exclusion.
The White House generally accepted all of the Commission recommendations. In terms of NAATP priorities, they detailed their previously released IMD exclusion waiver process. Regarding Parity, the White House said it would “continue to educate private payers regarding the requirements of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and vigorously enforce the law.”
The meaning of “vigorously enforcing the law” is unclear. It is certainly an acknowledgement that enforcement of Parity is an important part of the solution. We are anxious to work with the Administration as it works out enforcement details.
The nine-point White House response also included language regarding enhanced border security to prevent illegal drugs from entering the US, tougher law enforcement, better education for the medical profession and drug prescribers, and finding alternatives to existing opioids.
While the White House response sounds positive, it will only be meaningful if there is action taken to implement the recommendations. NAATP stands ready to provide information and assistance to help achieve that goal.
Happy New Year from NAATP in Washington!