Legislation released yesterday by Republicans would continue to gut protections for those with pre-existing conditions and provide billions in tax breaks for the wealthiest
Boston (July 14, 2017) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) was today joined by a substance abuse treatment and recovery services provider and an individual in recovery at a press conference at the Gavin Foundation’s Devine Recovery Center in South Boston to condemn the newest version of the Senate Republican health care bill. The legislation continues to gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions and prices them out of care, as well as kicks millions of Americans off of Medicaid, including low-income and working families, elderly Americans in nursing homes, and children. The new Republican legislation also includes a so-called opioid “fund”, which will be a mere fraction of what is needed to address the prescription drug, heroin and fentanyl crisis. The Center for American Progress estimates that the Affordable Care Act would spend $91 billion for opioid coverage alone over the next decade, compared to the $45 billion opioid fund included in the Republican legislation for the same period of time.
“There has been a lot of talk from Republicans about so-called ‘fixes’ they have made to their updated bill. But this opioid fund isn’t a fix, it’s a falsehood,” said Senator Markey. “It’s a false promise to the people suffering from opioid addiction, and it’s a false bargain that Republicans will make at the expense of families desperate for treatment and recovery services. This latest version of the GOP health care legislation is as cruel and heartless as earlier bills, and I will fight to make sure it never becomes law.”
“At a time when the opioid crisis is exploding across Massachusetts, President Trump and Republicans in Congress want to slash in half the funding for treatment and recovery,” said John McGahan, President and CEO of the Gavin Foundation. “Medicaid funding is critical to helping families in Massachusetts throughout the treatment and recovery process.”
“After being homeless and feeling helpless, MassHealth was the key to getting me on the path to recovery,” said treatment advocate John Collier.“It’s the support of programs like MassHealth that make it possible for individuals suffering from addiction to get the treatment and help they need.”
Yesterday, Senator Markey spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate to denounce the latest version of the Senate GOP health care legislation, calling the opioid fund “a politically craven effort to buy votes from Republicans whose states are being ravaged by the prescription drug, heroin, and fentanyl crisis.”