House Tackles Opioid Abuse

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NFIB applauds House Speaker Turzai, State Lawmakers for Tackling Opioid Abuse
PA Ranked Second Among States for the Number of Opioids Prescribed to Injured Workers

HARRISBURG (January 23, 2018) – The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) today hailed state House Speaker Mike Turzai and state lawmakers who are calling attention to excessive opioid prescribing practices within the state workers’ compensation system. NFIB Executive State Director Kevin Shivers cited a recent report that ranked Pennsylvania the second highest state for the amount of opiods per claim, 87% higher than the median state. SB 936 and HB 18 are among the proposals being considered by the state legislature to combat opioid overprescribing and abuse in the workers’ comp system.

“Many employers worry the opioid addiction begins with the overprescribing of painkillers,” said Kevin Shivers. “I thank Speaker Turzai and state lawmakers for making SB 936 a priority, and thereby taking an important step to address the plague that has resulted in so many overdose deaths in Pennsylvania.”

Shivers praised House Labor and Industry Committee Chairman Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin), and SB 936 sponsor Sen. Don White (R-Indiana) and for their efforts to move this important legislation forward. SB 936 was approved by the House committee this morning and now heads to a vote in the full House. The bill previously was passed by the state Senate by a vote of 34 to 16. Shivers also applauded state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Berks, Lehigh) for sponsoring a similar bill in the House.

The legislation will require that the PA Department of Labor and Industry adopt an evidence-based drug formulary for the workers’ compensation system to reduce overprescribing of opioid painkillers. It also sets up a formula for other drugs and the dosage considered appropriate for certain injuries.

That will reduce costs of insurance premiums for small businesses.
A report on state’s workers’ insurance costs found Pennsylvania ranked at number 12 in cost per covered employee and 22-percent higher than the average of all states.

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NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists sends their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information is available online at