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As GOP Backroom Dealing Goes Into Overdrive, New Senate Report Shows Need for Medicaid Expansion in States Hit Hardest by Opioid Crisis

Senate HELP, Finance Committees’ joint report concludes gutting of Medicaid, ending consumer protections, insufficient opioid fund would devastate individuals seeking treatment for substance, opioid use disorders


NEW—Joint report makes clear reported $45 billion opioid fund is woefully inadequate; health experts blast proposal as “illogical”


Report: “Senate Republicans…who represent Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania…should take a hard look in the mirror before they vote on [Trumpcare]”


(Washington, D.C.) – Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) released a joint report today on the disastrous consequences Trumpcare would have for individuals seeking treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs), including opioid use disorders (OUDs). The report outlines how Trumpcare would remove critical protections and slash expanded Medicaid coverage provided under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that dramatically increased access to health care services for those with mental illnesses and SUDs.


“Given what Senate Republicans have said about the damage the opioid epidemic is doing in their communities, if they’re truly serious about a solution they’ll tell Leader McConnell that no sweetener added to Trumpcare can undo all the harm this disastrous bill would cause, and urge him to stop trying to jam Trumpcare through and instead start over in a bipartisan way. Anything less would be a stunning failure to advocate for the best interests of the patients and families they serve,” said Senator Murray.


“The opioid epidemic has hit communities from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine like a wrecking ball. Medicaid is on the front lines of turning the tide as the single largest payer for substance use disorder treatment services in the nation. If Senate Republicans pass Trumpcare, any progress this country has made will be lost, and thousands and thousands of Americans with opioid addiction will be left to suffer, cutting off a key lifeline that helps people get back on their feet. It’s time for Senate Republicans to end this misguided approach and work to end the opioid crisis,” said Senator Wyden.


The Trumpcare bill contains a grossly insufficient $2 billion opioid fund, which experts predict would cover under 2% of the cost of lost coverage under the bill over ten years. A $45 billion fund has since been raised by Republicans in negotiations; it would cover only 25% of projected costs, leave millions without coverage, and does not account for the rapid growth of the opioid epidemic.  As a result of this highly inadequate funding and decreased access to critical services, the report concludes that residents of states that have fared the worst in the opioid epidemic – including West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania – would likely suffer the most under Trumpcare.


From the report: “There is no possibility of a robust response to this crippling epidemic if [President Trump and Congressional Republicans] roll back Medicaid expansion, erode consumer protections, and roll back progress the ACA has achieved to fight the opioid epidemic.”


A copy of the report is available HERE.