Statement from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse on the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 | Center on Addiction

Statement from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse on the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017

Statement from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse on the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017

June 22, 2017

Joseph J. Plumeri, Executive Chair, and Samuel A. Ball, President and CEO of The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, a leading national addiction policy and research organization, call upon our nation’s lawmakers to look past partisan differences and political posturing to seize an opportunity to correct the biggest health issue facing our nation: addiction.

Anyone who votes for the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA) cannot claim to be committed to ending the opioid epidemic. The Act’s extensive cuts to Medicaid, elimination of the mandate to cover addiction treatment, and reduced subsidies for people in private insurance will result in fewer people receiving addiction care and have a devastating impact on our nation. 

The BCRA will make it significantly harder for people to access addiction treatment by decimating one of the most important, indeed lifesaving, resources we have to address the opioid crisis: Medicaid. The proposed changes will gut the program, kick millions of people off of their insurance, and irrevocably reduce our ability to care for the sick and vulnerable, including millions of people with addiction. Creating a $2 billion, one-year fund to address the opioid crisis is a pitiful solution and cannot help states fill the insurance coverage gaps caused by the BCRA. Addiction is a chronic disease and it cannot be addressed if we dismantle the primary health care system that serves people with addiction.

Limiting access to lifesaving addiction treatments – in the midst of an opioid epidemic of unprecedented proportions – is disgraceful. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death among Americans under age 50. We need large scale solutions that address the complexity of the problem. A critical first step is embracing health care reforms, like Medicaid expansion, that have improved treatment access.

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