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The four-page bill lists how states should spend settlement money, but it doesn’t specify consequences for flouting the rules or name who is in charge of monitoring compliance.
In the past year, opioid settlement money has gone from an emerging funding stream for which people had lofty but uncertain aspirations to a coveted pot of billions being invested in remediation efforts. Here are some important and evolving factors to watch going forward.
As opioid settlement dollars land in government coffers, a swarm of businesses are positioning themselves to profit from the windfall. But will their potential gains come at the expense of the settlements’ intended purpose — to remediate the effects of the opioid epidemic?
The Supreme Court agreed this week to hear its first major case on abortion since overturning Roe v. Wade — one that could restrict the availability of the abortion pill mifepristone, even in states where abortion remains legal. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, lawmakers in the House and Senate finally moved to renew health programs that expired in October — but it’s likely too late to finish the job in 2023. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Riley Griffin of Bloomberg News, and Lauren Weber of The Washington Post join KFF Health News chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Jen Golbeck, a University of Maryland professor and social media superstar, about her new book, “The Purest Bond,” which lays out the science of the human-canine relationship.
The Supreme Court heard arguments over whether the Sacklers, the family behind Purdue Pharma — which marketed OxyContin — could claim immunity from future lawsuits without claiming bankruptcy.
Some gubernatorial candidates are sparring over bragging rights for their state’s share of $50 billion in opioid settlement funds. Many of the candidates are attorneys general who pursued the lawsuits that produced the payouts.
The House finally has a new speaker: Mike Johnson (R-La). He’s a relative newcomer who’s been a lower-level member of the House GOP leadership. And while he’s an outspoken opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage, his record on other health issues is scant. Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health appears on track to be getting a new director, and Georgia’s Medicaid work requirement experiment is off to a very slow start. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KFF Health News’ Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.
State and local governments will receive a windfall of more than $50 billion over 18 years from settlements with companies that made, sold, or distributed opioid painkillers. Using the funds for law enforcement has triggered important questions about what the money was meant for.
Homicides, suicides, and drug overdoses have driven rising rates of pregnancy-related death in the U.S. This fall, six states received federal funding for substance use treatment interventions to prevent at least some of those deaths.
Narcan is available without a prescription. Addiction treatment experts hope this move will increase access to the medication, which can reverse opioid overdoses. But hurdles remain: cost and stigma.