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BROKEN PROMISES: While Pence Talks About Opioids, Trump Administration Policies Make Problem Worse

Today, Vice President Pence will be in New Hampshire in an attempt to cover up the Trump administration’s failure to deliver solutions for New Hampshire’s opioid epidemic. In response, New Hampshire Democratic Party Spokesperson Holly Shulman issued the following statement:

““Granite State families are sick and tired of the Trump administration’s broken promises and inaction on the opioid epidemic. Trump said one thing when he was campaigning, but at every turn, his administration has failed to stand up to the drug and insurance companies while our families continue to suffer. Today, we’ll hear more of the same empty promises from Mike Pence, but nothing can erase his administration's relentless push to slash funding and coverage for substance use disorder treatment and jeopardize our health care.” See for yourself: PROMISE MADE: Trump promised New Hampshire voters that he would “work like hell” to combat the opioid crisis by helping everyone suffering from addiction.

  • Trump: “I'm now doubling down on that promise that I made to the people of New Hampshire, and can guarantee you we will not only stop the drugs from pouring in, but we will help all of those people so seriously addicted.”

  • Trump: “I have never seen anything like it with what’s happening with the drugs. More so than other places, and other places are a disaster. We’re going to turn it around. We’re going to turn it around for New Hampshire.”

  • Trump: “If you never start, we have to get the kids not to start and the people generally not to start. The ones that are already hooked, we are going to get them help, we are going to do a lot of things to help them as much as we can we will try and get that all. I know a lot of people in New Hampshire their children are hooked, we are going to work like hell to get them unhooked because we have to.”

PROMISE BROKEN: Trump repeatedly sought to slash funds for Medicaid and eliminate Medicaid expansion, which is key to fighting the opioid crisis in New Hampshire.

  • Washington Post: “The spending plan calls for a cut of nearly $1.5 trillion in Medicaid over 10 years and for $1.2 trillion to be added for a new ‘Market Based Health Care Grant’ — that is, the block grants that would start in 2021. It also would eliminate funding for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act has gone to about three dozen states over the past five years.”

PROMISE BROKEN: Republican attacks on Medicaid have raised concerns that their actions could limit access to substance use disorder treatment in New Hampshire.

  • Modern Healthcare: “There is particular concern about the impact of possible coverage losses on addiction treatment in New Hampshire, which has been rocked by a high rate of opioid addiction and overdose deaths. It’s estimated that 11,000 Medicaid beneficiaries have received treatment for substance use disorders under the expansion program.”

PROMISE BROKEN: Trump proposed budgets that sought to slash funding for substance use disorder treatment programs.

  • The Hill: “The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration would face a reduction of $688 million cut, coming out to about $3.5 billion for 2019.”

  • Politico: “The proposal would target the federal mental health and substance abuse treatment agency with nearly $400 million in cuts while keeping funding for many initiatives aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic flat. The budget for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration cuts the Community Mental Health Services block grant by $116 million and reduces other state mental health grants by $136 million. Substance abuse treatment grants for states would fall by $73 million and public awareness programs would decline by $74 million.”

PROMISE BROKEN: Trump’s efforts to repeal and his sabotage of the Affordable Care Act could limit access to addiction treatment for those who need it the most.

  • Mother Jones: “According to a report from the Congressional Budget Office, such a repeal would cause 4 million Americans to immediately lose insurance and 13 million to lose insurance over the next 10 years. In addition, the CBO predicted a 10 percent spike in premiums. Of those 13 million who would lose insurance, nearly a third—or some 4 million Americans—likely have a mental or addictive disorder, says Richard Frank, a Harvard health economics professor who has been studying the effects of a potential Obamacare repeal over the past year.”

PROMISE BROKEN: Trump has expanded junk insurance plans that don’t require insurers to cover substance use disorder treatment by allowing them to sell plans that don’t cover essential health benefits.

  • Washington Post: “The Trump administration is further moving to roll back the Affordable Care Act by allowing its insurance subsidies to be used for leaner health plans that don’t cover a full range of benefits...These plans don’t include coverage of certain ‘essential’ benefits like mental-health services and prenatal care and they can refuse to cover people with preexisting conditions.”

PROMISE BROKEN: Trump did not declare the opioid crisis a national emergency, which would have prompted a rapid allocation of federal funding to address the issue.

  • New York Times: “But even as he vowed to alleviate the scourge of drug addiction and abuse that has swept the country — a priority that resonated strongly with the working-class voters who supported his presidential campaign — Mr. Trump fell short of fulfilling his promise in August to declare ‘a national emergency’ on opioids, which would have prompted the rapid allocation of federal funding to address the issue.”


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