As an unprecedented number of Americans die from opioid overdoses, the Senate’s new health care bill is trying to put a Band-Aid over a gaping wound.
The Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, the Senate’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, would appropriate $2 billion in 2018 to fund state grants to boost treatment and recovery services for those struggling with drug addiction and mental health disorders. There’s no mention of more money going to fund drug treatment beyond 2018.
The $2 billion number proposed is a fraction of what two key Republican senators from states hardest hit by the opioid crisis were asking for in the bill’s final version. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito had requested $45 billion over the next 10 years.