Senator Markey was joined by Democratic Senators and opioid treatment providers and advocates in opposition to Senate health care legislation
Washington (June 27, 2017) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) was today joined at a press conference by Shelby, an opioid treatment patient from West Virginia who shared her powerful story about how Medicaid saved her life and allowed her to access medication-assisted treatment and achieve recovery. Also joining Senator Markey were Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), as well as former Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and current Grayken Center Executive Director Michael Botticelli and West Virginia opioid treatment provider Dr. John Aldis.
The group blasted drastic cuts to the Medicaid program in the Senate Republican health care legislation and highlighted the need to address the opioid crisis on a bipartisan basis. Medicaid is the largest payer for treatment of substance use disorders in the country. It covers about one-third of Americans with an opioid use disorder, and pays for nearly half of the medication-assisted treatment in Massachusetts.
“This Senate Republican health care bill would be a death sentence for those patients suffering from opioid addiction,” said Senator Markey. “It’s unfortunate that Republicans who’ve touted our progress on opioid issues aren’t standing up to the policies in this legislation that would negate that hard work. By supporting this bill, they betray the families and communities who have suffered from the relentless grip of substance use disorders.”
“Without Medicaid, I wouldn’t be here today. Without Medicaid, I wouldn’t have a family. Without Medicaid, I’d be dead,” said Shelby. “And here I am, a year later, sober, because of Medicaid and because of the resources that Medicaid is able to provide for people like me.”
VIDEO of Senator Markey’s remarks can be found here: