In their latest attempt to win over some moderate Republicans who are siding with the conservative senators opposing the Senate’s Obamacare replacement package, Senate Republicans have said that they will inject $45 billion to the new health care legislation to help fight opioid abuse.
CNN recently reported that the opioid crisis has hit alarming levels. According to their findings, 26 percent of patients treated with some kind of opioids get addicted. Furthermore, one of every 550 patients dies as a result of an addiction-related complication within three years of the first prescription.
Senator Rob Portman from Ohio and Senator Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia are the moderates, Republican Senators hope to target with their proposed funding, since both senators have given the opioid crises high priority. But, for now, it seems like the new proposal may go in vain, as both senators believe that the cuts Medicaid that the new bill proposes are a bigger concern.
“More opioid funding would be very good and very beneficial, but the core for me is the Medicaid provision,” Capito told The Hill Thursday.
Capito and Portman, on their Senate websites, released a joint statement, stating that they cannot support the bill as it currently stands.
“For months, I have engaged with my colleagues on solutions that I believe are necessary to ensure that we improve our health care system and better combat this opioid epidemic,” Portman’s section read. “Unfortunately, the Senate draft falls short and therefore I cannot support it in its current form.”
“As drafted, this bill will not ensure access to affordable health care in West Virginia, does not do enough to combat the opioid epidemic that is devastating my state, cuts traditional Medicaid too deeply, and harms rural health care providers,” Capito wrote.
As it currently stands, the GOP’s health care bill, reduces $772 billion in Medicaid funding over the next 10 years.
Talking to CNN New Day host Chris Cuomo on his show, Capito said that the GOP’s plans to add $45 billion in funds to combat opioid addiction is pretty much useless unless Medicaid is also expanded. According to him Medicaid coverage and opioid treatment go “hand in hand.”
“You’re not going to access the treatment without the coverage, whether it’s through the exchanges or whether it’s Medicaid, you have to be able to have that coverage so that you can access the treatment the extra dollars are going to be put in to provide,” Capito said.