The central issue is that the House health care bill would phase out expanded Medicaid, which allows states to provide federally backed insurance to low-income adults previously not eligible. Many people in that demographic are in their 20s and 30s and dealing with opioid addiction. Dollars from
According to data compiled by The Associated Press, Medicaid expansion accounted for 61 percent of total Medicaid spending on substance abuse treatment in
Those states accepted the Medicaid expansion and represent a cross-section of places hardest hit by the overdose epidemic, which claimed more than 52,000 lives nationwide in 2015. Of the deaths, more than 6 in 10 were due to opioids, from prescription pain relievers like oxycodone to street drugs like heroin and an elephant tranquilizer.
"It's truly sad, but I've been to many funerals since I've been clean," said Wright, who's in his mid-20s. "I just think Medicaid — honestly — it saves people." And he's able to work.
"If somebody could say to me, 'Carolyn, the crisis is going to be over next week,' I'd feel OK — but I got 40 people on a waiting list," Givens said.
Medicaid cuts have become a major sticking point in the
The HHS budget for the opioid crisis is more than three times greater than two years ago,
Questioned by Sen.
"Let me respectfully suggest...that the programs that are out there by and large are not working," Price said. "We are losing more Americans today than we did last year...clearly we're moving in the wrong direction."
Price suggested that states would be more effective with greater flexibility promised by the
Said Leahy: "As a child I believed in the tooth fairy, but I'm a little bit older now."
Cutting financing for the Medicaid expansion "would create an unsustainable financial obligation" for
"I work with a lot of girls that struggle," she said at the Kennedy treatment center. "We can get them on Medicaid in a day and get them in treatment. For that not to be able to happen, that would be horrible."