STAT, June 22, 2017
Lev Facher

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ASHINGTON — The health care bill unveiled by Senate Republicans on Thursday includes funding to help tackle the nation’s opioid crisis — but dramatically less than the amount sought by two GOP senators and recovery advocates.

Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio) and Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) at one point had requested $45 billion over the course of a decade to keep the battle against opioids on the nation’s front burner. The bill instead would allocate only $2 billion, all in 2018.

“Well, they did say there’s some opioid funding,” Capito said as she emerged from the meeting in which GOP leadership walked through the bill with members. But, she added, the number falls far short of what she wanted.

The massive influx of money would have at least partially helped make up for the Senate’s proposed rollback of Medicaid, which pays for roughly half of addiction treatment in many states. In West Virginia, it funds nearly 45 percent of addiction treatment costs. In Ohio, the figure is 49.5 percent. [...]

addiction health care finance health care reform health law policy public health regulation