U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

Baldwin, Brown, Shaheen to Trump: Don’t Pull the Rug Out from Under States Fighting Opioid Crisis

As states apply for $1 billion in grants made available by 21st Century Cures Act, ACA repeal would pull $5.5 billion away from needed addiction services

By - Feb 3rd, 2017 02:08 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today wrote to President Donald Trump warning that repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with no replacement would pull the rug out from under local communities working to combat the opioid epidemic and could endanger millions of Americans just as they are getting treatment.

Repeal threatens to cut $5.5 billion from states battling opioid addiction. A recent report from Harvard Medical School and New York University details the devastating impact the repeal would have on those struggling with addiction. Nationwide, nearly 1.3 million Americans currently receiving treatment for substance abuse or mental health disorders would be kicked off of their coverage under repeal. And states would lose $5.5 billion in federal dollars each year that go toward treating these Americans through the Medicaid expansion or the marketplaces.

“The consequences of repealing the Affordable Care Act are dire for all Americans, but they are especially calamitous for Americans living with a mental illness, a substance use disorder, or both,” said the Senators in the letter sent today. “Repealing this law will cut billions of dollars in funding, kick tens of millions of Americans off of their health insurance, and saddle providers with hundreds of millions of dollars more in uncompensated care.”

In December 2016, President Obama signed into law the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act – legislation that will provide $1 billion in federal grant funding over the next two years to states like Ohio, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire that have been hardest-hit by the opioid epidemic. But now, Congress is working to repeal the health law and pull addiction services – and funding for treatment – out from under millions of Americans. In the letter, the Senators note that at the same time states are competing for the grants made available through Cures, ACA repeal stands to take away $5.5 billion in just one year from addiction and mental health treatment services.

The letter was also signed by U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Thomas R. Carper (D-DE), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Al Franken (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Gary C. Peters (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Margaret Wood Hassan (D-NH).

A copy of the letter is available here.

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