June 9, 2017: As the Senate debates legislation to ‘repeal and replace’ the Affordable Care Act, LAC President/Director Paul Samuels and founder of the Treatment Research Institute Tom McLellan urge them to prioritize addiction care.
In an op-ed published today in The Hill, Samuels and McLellan argue that as our nation faces a devastating and escalating opioid epidemic, health law must strive to strengthen access to substance use treatment. Their article “The Senate has an Extraordinary Opportunity to Address the Opioid Epidemic: But first it must reject the AHCA” outlines the ways in which the American Health Care Act would significantly undermine efforts to stem the crisis.
“Should the bill become law, it would cripple our national response to the opioid epidemic but ending Medicaid expansion, cutting $880 billion in federal Medicaid funds, and radically changing the structure of the program through federal spending caps.”
The authors urge the Senate to “not simply reject the AHCA but instead to build upon the strong bipartisan efforts” to strengthen our national response to addiction. They outline several core policy components that must be retained or strengthened in order to fully address the current opioid epidemic and to change the trajectory of addiction in our country going forward.
“As the Senate develops its approach to health care reform, it should seek to maintain and, indeed, improve current health care laws and policies regarding addiction prevention and treatment.”
As they note “To do anything less would be to surrender millions of Americans to a public health crisis that we and must address.”