Proposed Cuts to Medicaid Projected to Worsen the Opioid Epidemic in America
The United States is in the middle of a crisis of its own making, – the ever-growing opioid epidemic. Our nation faces a challenge unlike any other that it has faced before. From coast to coast, people from all walks of life find themselves addicted.
In the op-ed article published by NJSpotlight on May 24, 2017, Scott Rudder runs down what the opioid crisis means in the Garden State. He starts by explaining a scene that any of us will be familiar with if we have ever watched day time television.
First the advertisement about the danger of the opioid crisis and how to get help. But then without skipping a beat, the next commercial highlights a new prescription that will help relieve pain – a prescription opioid. The drug commercial may continue until that advertisement block is over.
The severity of this issue is measured by the sheer number of people who are addicted and what leads them to get to that state. The same article states that as a nation we take 99 percent of the whole world supply of opioids.
Even more jarring is that in 2016, about 300 million prescriptions for opioids were written – 300 million prescriptions for the 330 million men, woman and children in the US.
This is all going on against the backdrop of a tremulous time in American politics. One of the ways that state and federal governments have been attempting to battle the opioid epidemic is by expanding Medicaid and using those funds to help the people who need help but could otherwise not afford it.
According to Dr. Joseph Parks as cited in an article from The Hill on June 17, “Medicaid is the largest national payer for addiction and mental health treatment,”.
The potential problem that this causes is when you look at proposed Trump budget and the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that is being written behind closed doors in the Senate. Combined, both the proposed budget and AHCA plan to cut over a trillion dollars from Medicaid.
This will make an impact in each state including in New Jersey where opioid related deaths are already at an all-time high.
One things that can be done to stop these changes, is to raise your voice. You can call your Senator and Congressperson, share this article on your social media and by attend the July 26, 2017 Congressional Reception in Washington, D.C. The Congressional Reception is a free event that will show Congress that New Jersey is passionate about “No Housing Cuts”. The opioid and housing crises is at the intersection of everything else that we do as humans.