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WASHINGTON — As Republicans plan to overhaul Medicaid, the opioid crisis looms large.

More than 30,000 Americans are dying from heroin and painkiller overdoses every year. Hundreds of thousands of people covered by Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid — more than a million, by at least one estimate — have mental health and substance abuse issues.


The GOP plan could impact the program in two ways. First, it would eliminate in 2020 the requirement that states, which administer Medicaid and jointly fund it with the federal government, offer robust coverage of mental health and substance abuse services for people who enrolled in Medicaid under the Obamacare expansion. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, traditional Medicaid coverage of these services is often less generous than the expansion coverage. So the fear is that coverage for those people would be rolled back under the GOP’s plan.

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  • President says that Opioid crisis is looming but wants to cut funding for it -while he calls a fictitious crisis at the border to get $$ for a wall.DUHH-whats wrong w/this pix. Can you say he is a lier,phony but if it were military the $ isn’t even questioned.

  • Here is a suggestion for saving money, methadone is much cheaper than buprenorphine. A month supply of Buprenorphine can cost up to 1,000 dollars per person compared to methadone/Dolophine which cost less than 100 bucks per month per patient.

  • What concerns me about all of this is the increase in the addiction epidemic in spite of all the money being spent on treatment. We need to invest in treatment that works and not just anything called treatment. This matters too much to think that throwing money at it is the solution. So far, Obamacare $$ has not proven to reduce the number of those dying.

    • That is absolutely WRONG ! I work in a drug treatment practice… you? Without access d/t more people having ins. d/t Obamacare, more people are alive who would be DEAD. One reason more people are dying is Fentanyl, coming from China ! 50x stronger than heroin. We havn;t seen 6AM (metabolite of heroin) in a urine test since last Aug. !!! You should confine you comments to areas of you expertise.

    • I am actively involved in this issue from many sides and have paid for my share of treatment for someone I love dearly. Have you seen the docoumentary “The Business of Recovery”? Not all treatment is good treatment. I will assume yours is.

    • Insurance paid addiction treatment is a loophole for many to get rich off the pain of other’s. No one recovers in 30-90 days. The recidivism rate shows that county programs work just as well if not more so since some can be a year long.
      Medicaid should go for mental illness, not “depression” but Bipolar 1 and Schizophrenia. There is not enough money for treatment and housing for the mentally ill.

    • While it may be true that rates of addiction and overdoses have continued to rise, assuming that the actions we have been taking are not helping would be a serious mistake. Yes, the problem has continued to escalate however we are left to only imagine how bad things would be without those actions. They most surely have had an effect and saved many lives. The rising numbers do not reflect a failure in that sense, but in fact indicates a need for additional resources to make an even bigger difference. Too many people are still unable to pay for treatment today. I would agree that resources should be directed towards evidence-based treatment such as MAT.

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