The New York Times (6/20, A1, Pear, Steinhauer, Subscription Publication) reports on its front page that growing dissension “among Senate Republicans over federal spending on Medicaid and the opioid epidemic is imperiling legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act that Senate leaders are trying to put to a vote by the end of next week.” The article says although President Trump urged senators to be more generous in their bill than the House was, on Tuesday, GOP leaders in the Senate “appeared to be drafting legislation that would do even more to slow the growth of Medicaid toward the end of the coming decade.” The piece adds that several lawmakers are warning the current measure would imperil consumers’ access to addiction treatment.
The AP (6/20, Alonso-Zaldivar) reports that the effort to repeal the ACA “is colliding with the opioid epidemic. Medicaid cutbacks would hit hard in states deeply affected by the addiction crisis and struggling to turn the corner, according to state data and concerned lawmakers in both parties.” Figures indicate “Medicaid expansion accounted for 61 percent of total Medicaid spending on substance abuse treatment in Kentucky, 47 percent in West Virginia, 56 percent in Michigan, 59 percent in Maryland, and 31 percent in Rhode Island.” The article adds that during a recent hearing, HHS Secretary Tom Price “defended the Trump administration and raised questions about how much difference Medicaid actually makes.” He explained that HHS’ “budget for the opioid crisis is more than three times greater than two years ago, $811 million versus $245 million,” which “reflects increases approved by Congress beyond what Medicaid spends.”
— “G.O.P. Rift Over Medicaid and Opioids Imperils Senate Health Bill,” ROBERT PEAR and JENNIFER STEINHAUER, New York Times, June 20, 2017.