A bill to tackle pharmacy medicare fraud is part of a final opioid bill that is on its way to President Donald Trump's desk to be signed into law.

Jersey Shore Congressman Tom MacArthur's Senior Communities Protection Act helps medicare protect seniors and prevents criminals from abusing stolen medicare numbers.

Macarthur says this bill also closes loopholes that let criminals put drugs on the streets.

"Criminals steal these numbers (medicare numbers) and they do pill dumping and use those numbers to buy huge amounts of opioids and flood them into local markets," MacArthur said.

The SCPA also grants Medicare Part D the ability to suspend any payments to a pharmacy under investigation for fraud or abuse.

MacArthur says this particular bill also gives medicare the ability to stop criminals from stealing medicare numbers at the pharmacy and using them for pill dumping.

"This allows Medicare to crack down on those pharmacies, withhold payments, conduct investigations and prosecute the criminals that are stealing the numbers," MacArthur said.

He says the bill also allows medicare to respond more quickly to abusive activity and protect medicare dollars for seniors who need them.

MacArthur's senior communities protection act is among those bills and seeks to stop criminals from stealing medicare numbers and using them to buy and sell pills.

"The more than medicare numbers get misused, the more seniors get push-back when they go to use their numbers legitimately," MacArthur said. "This bill protects our seniors and keeps medicare dollars for what they're meant for and that's to help them."

MacArthur's senior communities protection act also allows medicare to respond quicker and investigate abusive activity.

"Most numbers that are stolen, nobody did anything wrong except for the criminal that stole them," MacArthur said.

He urges seniors to never give out their medicare numbers out to someone they don't know over the phone.

MacArthur's legislation is one of the many designed to prevent abuse, overuse, and dealing of drugs and make sure treatment options are available to those who need them.

"Republicans and Democrats have come together to pass innovative policies that provide our South Jersey community with real solutions to the opioid crisis," MacArthur said.
"As co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, I will continue finding ways to make our communities better prepared and more resilient against the opioid epidemic. I am proud of the work we have accomplished and I am committed to building on this progress. This crisis is bigger than any one of us, but it is not bigger than all of us together," added Congressman MacArthur.

The House previously passed the SENIOR Communities Protection Act as part of its opioid legislative package, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act.

In September, the Senate passed The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, its comprehensive opioid legislation.

Following bicameral discussions, MacArthur's legislation was included in this final bill and will be signed into law.

The House passed the legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support, 393-8.

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