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Paduda: Who's Going to Pay for the Opioid Crisis?

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Insurers are loosening policy language to allow more treatment for opioid addiction. Treatment centers and providers are opening, expanding and increasing services to meet growing demand. 

Joe Paduda

Joe Paduda

Workers’ comp requires treatment for those addicted or dependent on opioids, leading to higher costs for employers, insurers and taxpayers. Medicaid will be saddled with much of the burden, as addicts often lose their jobs and have no other coverage, so we taxpayers will foot the bill.

We know who’s going to be writing the checks — ultimately you and me, and our nations’ employers, in the form of higher insurance premiums, higher taxes and lower earnings for employers.

That’s wrong. And not just-kinda-sorta-oh-that’s-too-bad wrong, but ethically, morally and maybe even legally wrong.

The purveyors of this poison have made billions by lying, deceiving and killing our fellow citizens. By crushing families, destroying towns, bankrupting businesses, ripping apart our social fabric.

And we’re left paying the bill in dollars, deaths and soul-searing pain.

I have a modest proposal. Make the pill pushers pay. 

Congress should pass a bill, and the president should sign it, making the opioid industry pay for its sins. Treatment coverage, a flat amount for each person who died on their poison, and reimbursement for all past costs incurred by individuals, families, taxpayers and employers.

Bankrupt the industry, take every penny the owners have and use it to help those they’ve harmed.

Let’s call it the Corporate Opioid Responsibility Payment Service Establishment Act. CORPSE for short.

What does this mean for you?

Make the bastards pay.

Joe Paduda is co-owner of CompPharma, a consortium of pharmacy benefit managers. This column was reprinted with his permission from his Managed Care Matters blog.

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David Langham Feb 28, 2017 a 2:02 am PST

An interesting discussion, as all Joe Paduda columns are. In the end, the price will be (has been) paid in human suffering, disfunction and death. Did any doctors make money writing prescriptions or dispensing these medications? Did any attorneys make money filing claims for provision or paymen of these medications? Who all had a hand in the last thirty years? Finding each who played a part may be difficult indeed.

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