With the vote for the Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act scheduled for this week, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo denounced the bill for cutting Medicaid funding used to combat the opioid epidemic. By cutting federal funding for Medicaid expansion and capping Medicaid spending, the Senate bill will reduce New York’s ability to deliver critical services and will affect access to treatment at a time when the opioid epidemic is reaching a crisis level.
“Criticism of the Republican House and Senate bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act has largely focused on the plan to strip coverage for essential benefits or preexisting conditions. This focus has obscured another devastating consequence imposed by the destructive bill: cutting Medicaid funding used to combat the opioid crisis. At a time when drugs have become the leading cause of death for Americans under 50, resulting in the first decline in American life expectancy since 1993, Congress wants to cut critical Medicaid dollars for treatment services.
“In New York alone, cuts to Medicaid would mean two-thirds of the budget that goes to fund Substance Use Disorder treatment could be at risk. The bill would also cut a two-year, $50 million federal grant to combat the opioid epidemic by maximizing federal Medicaid dollars, undermining the state’s ability to sustain life-saving programs beyond the grant period. While the bill sets aside $2 billion for opioid treatment, that is nowhere near enough, and cuts to Medicaid funding for substance use will have a devastating effect. The real-life impact would be felt across the state; consider that, in 2015, more than 2,300 people died of an opioid overdose in New York State, causing more deaths than motor vehicle accidents.
“This heartless Republican Senate bill cannot and should not pass. Every member of the New York delegation should be held accountable for doing everything within their means to stop this reprehensible bill from threatening our ability to combat the opioid crisis and stop the ever-rising death toll.”
New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help by calling the state’s toll-free, 24/7 HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369).
Available addiction treatment including crisis/detox, inpatient, community residence, or outpatient care can be found by using the new and improved NYS OASAS Treatment Availability Dashboard at FindAddictionTreatment.ny.gov or through the Access Treatment page on the NYS OASAS website. Visit the #CombatAddiction website at oasas.ny.gov/CombatAddiction to learn more about how you can help to #CombatAddiction in your community.
Visit www.combatheroin.ny.gov for more information on addressing heroin and prescription opioid abuse, including a Kitchen Table Tool Kit to help start the conversation about the warning signs of addiction and where to get help. For tools to use in talking to a young person about preventing alcohol or drug use, visit the State’s Talk2Prevent website.