Opioid crisis threatens GOP ObamaCare repeal – The Hill

Fears that cuts to Medicaid could exacerbate a national opioid epidemic that took more lives last year than the Vietnam War have emerged as a huge threat to the Senate GOP’s ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill.

The legislation includes a $2 billion fund to help people with substance use disorders, but critics say that’s not enough to make up for the deep cuts to Medicaid that would come if the bill becomes law.

“It’s just unconscionable to me that anybody who is serious about dealing with this opioid addiction could be satisfied with the bill — even supporting $45 billion, let alone $2 billion,” Michael Botticelli, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President Obama, told The Hill. He said the bill would “really have disastrous consequences for people who are struggling with opioid addiction.”

Sens. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Moore CapitoOpioid crisis threatens GOP ObamaCare repeal Sanders to headline ‘Don’t Take Our Health Care’ bus tour The Hill’s Whip List: Senate ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (W.Va.) and Rob PortmanRob PortmanOpioid crisis threatens GOP ObamaCare repeal A tale of two drug bills — one proposed bill will worsen the drug prices crisis Sanders to headline ‘Don’t Take Our Health Care’ bus tour MORE (Ohio) want substantial more dollars to go toward the opioid epidemic, and $2 billion in funding for the next fiscal year is a far cry from the pair’s proposal for $45 billion over a decade.The opioid epidemic has hit West Virginia and Ohio particularly hard. Both states expanded Medicaid, and nearly 30 percent of those receiving health coverage through Medicaid expansion have a mental health or substance use disorder or both, according to the National Council for Behavioral Health.  

Both states also went for President Trump in the 2016 election, adding an intriguing wrinkle to the political discussions. Trump desperately wants the healthcare win, but also reportedly described the House legislation as “mean.” How blue-collar voters interpret the GOP legislation overturning ObamaCare could have long-lasting political repercussions.

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