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February 27, 2017

Who’s Going to Pay for the Opioid Crisis?

Summary:

You and I and other taxpayers are going to foot the bill, as will employers. But I have a modest proposal. Let's make the pill-pushers pay.

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

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. Workers’ comp requires treatment for those addicted to 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-of-that’s-too-bad wrong, but ethically, morally and maybe even legally wrong.

See also: How to Attack the Opioid Crisis  

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

Make the bastards pay.

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About the Author

Joseph Paduda, the principal of Health Strategy Associates, is a nationally recognized expert in medical management in group health and workers’ compensation, with deep experience in pharmacy services. Paduda also leads CompPharma, a consortium of pharmacy benefit managers active in workers’ compensation.

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