STAT

The Senate could soon pass an opioids package. But a new law is still a long way away

The House passed a big opioids bill, the Senate is about to vote on its own version — but a law? That’s a long way off.
A man walks by a billboard for a drug recovery center in Youngstown, Ohio. Source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The Senate is likely to pass a comprehensive bill to address the opioid crisis in the coming weeks. The House did so in June.

But the finish line on that long-discussed priority remains a long way off.

Lawmakers have left untouched many of the bill’s most contentious issues, like debates over patient privacy and expensive changes to Medicaid payments for addiction treatment. There’s no sign yet they’ll iron out those issues before the Senate votes.

That procrastination means a select group of lawmakers will spend September and October — if not longer — hammering out the contentious details. A final vote, lawmakers, congressional aides, and

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