Citing Medical Devices, Erik Paulsen’s PROPER Act Passes House

ADAGE : “Never let a good crisis go to waste”

Following up on a Monday’s commentary suggesting that the opioid crisis would be a central part of Erik Paulsen’s re-election campaign, the House gave him what he asked for.

Without saying a word, “Representative” Paulsen, the Champion of the Medical Device industry, was able to get quick action and a voice vote approval of H.R. 5775, the Providing Reliable Options for Patients and Educational Resources Act of 2018 (aka PROPER Act).

“Representative” Paulsen didn’t have to say a word — in fact he didn’t — others knew the what was involved … yeah, it was supposed to be about getting Medicare to “educate” patients so they can make “make informed decisions about their healthcare.”

It was a short debate … well, really more a discussion as it lasted less than ten minutes in total.
“Representative” Paulsen was praised for efforts to require Medicare Advantage and Medicare part D plans to inform seniors about alternative nonaddictive pain management therapies covered by Medicare.

Effective alternatives to opioids, such as physical therapy and medical devices exist, and in most instances are covered by Medicare.
However, many seniors and providers simply aren’t aware of the coverage options. Education is a key tool for seniors to make informed decisions about their healthcare.

Readers of the related commentary may recall that Congressman Paulsen’s bill was written to codify what CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) was already doing in relation to informing patients of the dangers of opioid addiction … but the discussion of the bill featured alternatives that should be discussed like nonpharmacological therapies and medical devices.

The Medical Device industry has been a reliable donor to congressional candidates — particularly Erik Paulsen — so that industry got a loud shout-out … apparently nonpharmacological therapies like acupuncture must not have lobbyists.

If you are an investor, you already know that there are several devices and technologies currently on the market that are designed to reduce opioid abuse. They include technologies that treat acute pain, technologies that treat chronic pain and devices for medication management and pill dispensing.
The Medical Device industry just needed someone to “champion” their work.

So it was on April 16, 2018 that the Medical Alley Association hosted “Representative” Paulsen for a roundtable meeting with several Medical Alley Association members.

Discussion centered on the great, innovative work being done by Medical Alley companies in a number of areas – including products that could help combat the opioid epidemic and saving consumers time and money through a number of digital health solutions.
Medical Alley Association members participating in the roundtable included: Smiths Medical, SPR Therapeutics, SpineThera, Atricure, vidscrip, Zipnosis, and LogicStream Health.

Less than a month later, May 11 to be precise, “Representative” Paulsen introduced his bill.

The bill was passed on June 19th and tweeted so that all #PaulsenDonors could see the work he is doing on their behalf (without mentioning how Medical Devicemakers could benefit from more Medicare customers.)

Good job, “Representative” Paulsen — you have proven the adage — “Never let a good crisis go to waste” — can actually be good for your donors.

Sorta explains why “Representative” Paulsen authored the bill … there are over 50 opioid-related bills that the House will vote on during this two week period. “Representative” Paulsen’s bill may help (and benefit Medical Devicemakers) … yet there is another bill that Congressman Paulsen has not sponsored — HR5124 – Community Action Opioid Response Act of 2018.
“Representative” Paulsen’s H.R.5775 PROPER Act of 2018 had five cosponsors and received immediate action by GOP leadership.
HR5124 – Community Action #Opioid Response Act of 2018 has been authored by Minnesota’s Fourth District Congresswoman Betty McCollum in concert with Republican Lloyd Smucker [PA16]. Besides Congressman Smucker, ten other Republicans have co-sponsored the legislation :
Lou Barletta [R-PA-11]
Rodney Davis [R-IL-13]
Brian Fitzpatrick [R-PA-8]
Bill Johnson [R-OH-6]
David McKinley [R-WV-1]
Luke Messer [R-IN-6]
Steve Stivers [R-OH-15]
Elise Stefanik [R-NY-21]
Claudia Tenney [R-NY-22]
Glenn Thompson [R-PA-5]

The Community Action Opioid Response Act, H.R. 5124, establishes a competitive grant program to expand and support effective community efforts to identify and respond to the causes and consequences of opioid misuse and addiction experienced by low-income individuals, families, and communities. Uniquely positioned to address these needs, Community Action Agencies would compete for three-year grants ranging from $50,000 to $1 million per year.

Grants under the Community Action Opioid Response Act could support a wide range of activities designed to prevent and treat addiction, stabilize the lives of addicted individuals and their families, and support the children of addicted individuals. Grant applicants would undergo rigorous screening by a 15-member review panel under the Department of Health and Human Services.

There are more than 1,000 Community Action Agencies across the country, each governed by a board that represents all sectors of the local community, including its low-income residents. Funded through the Community Services Block Grant, they have well-established and wide-ranging networks of private and public partners, including health care providers, social service organizations, the judicial system, local governments, and thousands of local volunteers.

“Now more than ever we must prioritize federal funding to combat the opioid epidemic that has swept across Pennsylvania and the nation,” Congressman Smucker said. “Everyone in the community has a role to play in this fight, ranging from law enforcement, pharmacies, physicians, insurers, and community groups. Community action agencies have an existing infrastructure we can harness to reach families and individuals at risk or struggling with opioid addiction. These funds are critical to saving lives, and I am glad to work with Rep. McCollum to increase the federal government’s response in the wake of this public health crisis.”

Hmmmm … what’s the motivation of these two opioid-related bills ?
Why does one bill get a quick action (in an election year) and one does not ?
Is it as simple as one has the potential to increase profits for Medical Devicemakers targeting seniors and providing reasons for their continued campaign contributions … and one is focused on expending funds to help low-income individuals, families, and communities ?

Gosh, maybe that’s why the Twitter hashtag #PayToPlayPaulsen and #DonorOwned are gaining momentum.

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