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Tonko Health Priorities—Including MAT Act—Advance Out of Committee

Slew of key health-focused legislation including addiction & rare disease treatment bills pass

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WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Paul D. Tonko today joined full Energy and Commerce Committee markup to advance several health-focused bills, including his Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services Block Grant Act, Helping Experts Accelerate Rare Treatments (HEART) Act. Tonko also successfully called for the inclusion of his Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act, broadly-supported bipartisan legislation that eliminates the outdated, bureaucratic requirement—known as the “x-waiver”—currently preventing Americans from accessing lifesaving addiction treatment. He also spoke in support of the Humane Cosmetics Act, which would reduce unnecessary animal testing in cosmetics.

“This COVID-19 pandemic has put an unbelievable burden on our health care system, along with exposing and exacerbating the largely unmet needs millions of Americans struggling with addiction and mental illness,” Congressman Tonko said. “With the advance of this legislation, we will shore up health services and provide vital support to doctors and researchers as well as countless patients across the nation. I am especially proud of the passage of several priority bills I authored that will, among other key actions, address the worsening opioid crisis and provide hope to families and individuals living with a rare disease. I’ll continue pushing for the swift passage of this broadly supported legislation out of the House to provide immediate relief and broaden accessibility of key health programs to all.”

Legislation Tonko championed that was advanced out of committee today are:

  • The Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act that eliminates the redundant requirement that practitioners apply for a separate waiver through the DEA to prescribe buprenorphine for substance use disorder treatment. After France took similar action to make buprenorphine available without a specialized waiver, opioid overdose deaths declined by 79 percent over a four-year period
  • The Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services Block Grant Act, which reauthorizes the crucial Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services Block Grant Act for an additional five years, thereby providing sustained investment in evidence-based programs that support individuals, families, and municipalities struggling with addiction
  • The Helping Experts Accelerate Rare Treatments (HEART) Act, which strengthens the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review process for drugs that treat rare and ultra-rare diseases by directly involving scientists and doctors with expertise throughout the review process. Tonko was inspired to introduce this legislation through his work with Melissa Goetz, constituent and Co-President of The Familial Chylomicronemia Syndrome (FCS) Foundation, whose daughter is living with FCS.

Tonko’s Substance Use Block Grant and MAT Act were included as sections of H.R. 7666, Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022 and his HEART Act was advanced under H.R. 7667, the Food and Drug Amendments of 2022.

Tonko also spoke in support of the Humane Cosmetics Act, which prohibits the production and sale of cosmetics that have been newly tested on animals in the United States. The legislation would bring the federal government in line with 8 states and 41 countries that have passed laws to end or limit cosmetic animal testing, and would be a great opportunity to update animal testing practices while ensuring consumer safety.


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