Medicaid is contributing to the nation’s opioid crisis by establishing incentives that make it profitable to abuse and sell opioids, a report by Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee concludes.
The report notes that at least 1,072 people have been convicted or charged nationwide since 2010 for improperly using Medicaid to obtain prescription opioids, some of which were then resold on the nation’s streets. “The number of criminal defendants increased 18 percent in the four years after Medicaid expanded, 2014-2017, compared to the four years prior to Medicaid expansion,” the report states.
The committee’s top Democrat, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, said Medicaid expansion is not to blame for the opioid epidemic, USA Today reports. “This idea that Medicaid expansion is fueling the rise in opioid deaths is total hogwash,” McCaskill said. “It is not supported by the facts. And I am concerned that this committee is using taxpayer dollars to push out this misinformation to advance a political agenda.”
Heroin, Fentanyl & Other Opioids: From Understanding to Action
Heroin and other opioids are ravaging communities across America. Deaths from heroin increased 328% between 2010 and 2015, and drug deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are now seeing a sharp rise as well. More Americans die from drug overdoses than in car crashes, and this increasing trend is driven by Rx painkillers.