New Healthcare Bill Has Addiction Treatment Resources Hanging in the Balance

Kraig Moss was one of the most ardent Trump supporters that one is likely to find. The upstate New York resident, former business owner and amateur country singer even sold his construction equipment company, stopped making mortgage payments on his house and hit the road to support the current president during the campaign. All tolled, Moss attended 45 Trump rallies, writing and performing songs to drum up support for the candidate and shaking his hand on multiple occasions. All support and trust dissolved; however, with the rollout of the republican majority’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act earlier this month.

Moss belongs to one of the tens of thousands of families that has lost a child to heroin addiction in the wake of the recent epidemic. Three years ago, he found is son Rob dead of an overdose at the age of 24. In the pursuit of answers and activism to curb the opioid and heroin crisis that has consumed this country-an epidemic that officials now say is the worst substance abuse crisis in American history-he clung to President Trump’s apparent support of a compassionate treatment-first approach to overdose prevention, a philosophy that has not exactly been bared out in the most recent iteration of the new GOP healthcare bill.

Moss’ primary gripe with the new law is the potential cuts to treatment services that could save thousands of people who struggled just as his son did. Currently it calls for the reduction of the Medicaid expansions that make it possible for states to provide treatment under the ACA mandate. A total of 31 states took advantage of the expansions over the past few years and have been able to provide significantly more treatment resources to keep pace with the escalating drug problems within their borders. Opponents of the expansion says it oversteps government authority, drives up costs and decreases individual choice.

The ACA replacement bill is scheduled for a house vote literally any minute now; however, despite all the contentious back and forth already surrounding the law, this vote is still likely to be the easiest legislative hurdle in the process. By the time it passes the senate, it may look entirely different. In the meantime; however, the tug of war to preserve treatment access through Medicaid continues between both parties, leaving hundreds of thousands of Americans who are suffering from drug addiction, as well as their loved ones, waiting with bated breath.