Some Republican Senators From States Hit Hard by Opioid Epidemic Oppose Health Bill

Medicaid dollar money

Some Republican senators from states hit hard by the opioid epidemic are opposing the Senate health care bill, which would slash Medicaid funding.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia announced Tuesday she opposes the bill in its current form. West Virginia has the highest per-capita death rate from opioids, NPR reports.

“West Virginia has the largest Medicaid population in the country. I recognize that many West Virginians rely on health coverage and access to substance abuse treatment because of my state’s decision to expand coverage through Medicaid,” Capito said in a statement.

In the same statement, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio said, “The Senate draft before us includes some promising changes to reduce premiums in the individual insurance market, but I continue to have real concerns about the Medicaid policies in this bill, especially those that impact drug treatment at a time when Ohio is facing an opioid epidemic.”

Senator Dean Heller of Nevada has also said he opposes the bill. At a press conference he said,
“It doesn’t protect Nevadans on Medicaid and the most vulnerable Nevadans. On Medicaid expansion, probably half — half — the dollars that were spent on that were on mental health and opioid abuse.”

Call Your Senators: Vote NO to the American Health Care Act

Tell your Senator to protect the Medicaid expansion and Essential Health Benefits so that people with substance use disorder can receive the treatment they need. If Medicaid Expansion is repealed, states hardest hit by the opioid epidemic would be at greatest risk for reductions in coverage.

A fully integrated healthcare system must account for the treatment of substance use disorder. Addiction is a health issue, not a moral failing, and should be treated as such.

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