search
Sections List
American Journal News

"Death sentence." Opioid addiction experts blast GOP health care repeal

Donald Trump campaigned on the promise of ending the opioid epidemic, but the recently unveiled Republican health care bill threatens to make the deadly crisis even worse. And despite warnings from his own advisory council, Trump is still pushing for its passage. Described as the “defining public health challenge of our time,” the opioid crisis […]

By Caroline Orr - June 26, 2017
Share
Donald Trump

Donald Trump campaigned on the promise of ending the opioid epidemic, but the recently unveiled Republican health care bill threatens to make the deadly crisis even worse. And despite warnings from his own advisory council, Trump is still pushing for its passage.

Described as the “defining public health challenge of our time,” the opioid crisis has thrust America into an unprecedented drug overdose epidemic that killed 52,000 people in 2015 and as many as 65,000 in 2016, making drug overdose the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50.

With about 2.66 million Americans struggling with opioid use disorders, the need for treatment and recovery services has never been greater.

That’s why addiction specialists were so alarmed when Senate Republicans released their new health care bill, which allows insurers to drop substance abuse and mental health services from their coverage and effectively wipes out Medicaid, the nation’s largest payer of addiction treatment.

“This is like a death sentence for those getting treatment for substance abuse disorders,” Gary Mendell, founder of the addiction-focused non-profit Shatterproof, told the NY Daily News. “You could not create a worse scenario.”

Ultimately, the Republican health care plan will place lifesaving treatment out of reach for millions of Americans struggling with substance use disorders. More lives will be lost, more families will be torn apart, and more communities will be devastated by the social and economic costs of untreated addiction.

“The thing we know about addiction is that having coverage does make a difference in terms of people’s access and ultimate recovery,” Arthur Evans, CEO of the American Psychological Association, told CNN. “[This] bill is going to make it worse. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”

While the impact of the plan will be felt by individuals and communities across the country, the very people who voted Trump into office will be hit particularly hard.

According to a CNN analysis, Trump won 18 out of the 25 states with the highest number of drug overdose deaths in 2015. As a candidate, Trump promised voters in these struggling communities that if they elected him, he would devote the resources needed to combat the opioid epidemic. Instead, all he has offered is a punitive approach that treats addiction as a crime and replaces drug rehabilitation centers with jails and prisons.

We’ve tried this “tough on crime” approach before — and it failed miserably, resulting in a taxpayer-funded mass incarceration epidemic that did nothing to address the underlying problem of addiction. The failure of the war on drugs is reflected in recent public opinion polling, which shows that two-thirds of Americans favor treatment over punishment for drug users.

Despite his many promises on the campaign trail, the opioid epidemic is proving to be yet another issue which Trump is doing very little to address. But when it comes to the Republican health care bill, doing nothing at all is the best thing he could do.


AJ News
Get the latest news here first.

Tai News

Newsletter
Read More
Abortion care and transgender health care are ‘parallel struggles’ in 2024 legislation

Abortion care and transgender health care are ‘parallel struggles’ in 2024 legislation

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - February 16, 2024
Jackson bill seeks to lower the price of insulin, ease access for nonprofit manufacturers

Jackson bill seeks to lower the price of insulin, ease access for nonprofit manufacturers

By Evan Popp, Maine Morning Star - February 14, 2024
Oregon lawmakers look for ways to curb prescription costs 

Oregon lawmakers look for ways to curb prescription costs 

By Ben Botkin, Oregon Capital Chronicle - February 12, 2024
Hispanic and teen fertility rates increase after abortion restrictions

Hispanic and teen fertility rates increase after abortion restrictions

By Eleanor Klibanoff, Texas Tribune - January 26, 2024
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
AJ News
Latest
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Republican Bernie Moreno opposes existence of minimum wage

Republican Bernie Moreno opposes existence of minimum wage

By Jesse Valentine - February 23, 2024
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott floats building a wall on the Oklahoma border

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott floats building a wall on the Oklahoma border

By Jesse Valentine - February 22, 2024
More than 48,600 18-year-olds are registered to vote in Ohio, a 35% increase from late August

More than 48,600 18-year-olds are registered to vote in Ohio, a 35% increase from late August

By Megan Henry, Ohio Capital Journal - February 22, 2024
Not if, but when: Parents of slain Parkland students urge Utah lawmakers to pass school safety bill

Not if, but when: Parents of slain Parkland students urge Utah lawmakers to pass school safety bill

By Kyle Dunphey, Utah News Dispatch - February 21, 2024
Key takeaways from Monday’s U.S. Senate Ohio Republican primary debate

Key takeaways from Monday’s U.S. Senate Ohio Republican primary debate

By Nick Evans, Ohio Capital Journal - February 20, 2024
Human, financial costs of gun violence are growing dramatically, health care group says

Human, financial costs of gun violence are growing dramatically, health care group says

By Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal - February 20, 2024