As Sec. Price Visits TN, Questions for Haslam, Corker and Alexander

Tennessee is being devastated by opioids and the GOP healthcare plan makes it worse

Chattanooga, Tenn. (July 6, 2017) – As Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price visits Tennessee as part of his listening tour on the opioid epidemic, the Tennessee Democratic Party issued the some questions they believe must be answered by state officials regarding the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Why are Republicans even considering cuts to treatment at the height of an epidemic?

Both the house and senate versions of Trumpcare contain massive cuts to opioid funding ensuring more people will die from overdose. The New York Times reported that while the senate’s TrumpCare plan includes $2 billion for opioid treatment, “addiction specialists said it was drastically short of what would be needed to make up for the legislation’s deep cuts to Medicaid, which has provided treatment for hundreds of thousands of people caught up in a national epidemic of opioid abuse.” Ohio’s Republican senators Rob Portman and Shelly Moore Capito asked for $45 billion, and Vox reports that experts say $190 billion is needed over the next decade.

Why are Republicans, including Senator Alexander, misleading people about the cuts to Medicaid?

The New York Times called out Senator Alexander for misleading people about the massive cuts to Medicaid in the senate version of Trumpcare. In addition to Medicaid paying for the long-term care costs of two-thirds of Americans living in nursing homes, Medicaid provides as much as 49% of the funding for substance abuse treatment in some states. The cuts to Medicaid that Sen. Alexander is misleading Tennesseans about will be devastaing.

Why do Republicans think it should be optional for insurance companies to cover substance abuse treatment?

The Affordable Care Act greatly increased access to treatment programs by making it an essential benefit. The Trumpcare plans allow states to grant waivers exempting insurers from providing the essential benefits, meaning thousands of Tennesseans would lose access. Over 1,400 people died in 2015 in Tennessee from opioid overdose, this change in policy would only make the problem worse.