Cassidy-Graham-Heller Repeal Plan Would Make It Harder for Ohioans to Combat Opioid Crisis

The Cassidy-Graham-Heller repeal plan would have a devastating impact on Ohio’s ability to combat the opioid crisis. In addition to dismantling Medicaid with a $10.2 billion program cut in 2027 alone and the end of the Medicaid expansion, it would allow insurers to drop the ACA’s required coverage for substance abuse treatment. In particular Medicaid, which covers 21 percent of Ohioans, has played a critical role in this fight, providing coverage for a third of all Americans who are struggling with opioid addiction.

“The opioid epidemic has devastated communities across Ohio, and the last thing Ohioans need is for Senator Portman and his Republican colleagues to take away their access to health care and critical resources,” said DNC spokesperson Mandy McClure. “While it’s bad enough that Trump has failed to live up to his promise to formally declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency, he is now leading the charge to strip protections and resources from Ohio families who need them most. The latest GOP repeal bill is even worse for working Ohioans than previous repeal attempts. Democrats will not sit idly by while Republicans continue their heartless crusade and destroy the lives of millions of Americans.” 


The Cassidy-Graham-Heller repeal plan:

  • Does not include additional funding to combat the opioid epidemic.
  • Makes deep cuts to Medicaid that are even worse than repealing the ACA expansion alone – every state, even those that did not expand Medicaid, will see cuts.
  • Converts Medicaid to a per-capita program, making it more difficult for states to combat public health emergencies like the opioid epidemic.
  • Ends the guarantee of protections for people with preexisting conditions and allows insurance companies to charge people higher premiums based on their health status, hurting people suffering from opioid addiction.
  • Gives states the ability to waive the ACA’s essential health benefits – which guarantee coverage for substance abuse treatment and mental health care.

Impact of Medicaid on combatting the opioid epidemic in Ohio:

  • More than 700,000 Ohioans have enrolled in Medicaid as a result of the ACA expansion program, and in 2016, Medicaid expansion accounted for 43 percent of total Medicaid spending on substance abuse and mental health treatment in Ohio.
  • Medicaid expansion has helped half a million Ohioans access substance abuse or mental health treatment.
  • More than 150,000 Ohioans who struggle with mental health or addiction issues have coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.