What is Risked with Repeal
Combine overdose deaths from heroin, opioid painkillers, and synthetic opioids like fentanyl, and the size of the problem is obvious. America currently experiences what has been called the worst drug epidemic in history. We cannot afford to lose the scant resources that have been provided to fight this epidemic. And yet, that risk is very real.
Republican Governor Kasich accepted the Obamacare enacted expansion of Medicare in Ohio. He do so, in part, to provide those suffering from opioid addiction the ability to have insurance cover their treatment. Business Insider recently noticed, the impressive results:
Ohio, which has the third-highest drug-overdose death rate with 29.9 deaths per 100,000 people, has insured 702,000 new people and is providing substance-abuse treatment to 108,000 of those people. And health-provider groups surveyed by the Ohio Department of Medicaid expressed “a uniformly positive view” of the expansion in an extensive review of the program.
With the full repeal of Obamacare being pursued, and still no clear plan for replacement, Republicans in Congress seem determined to place the resources needed to combat the Opioid epidemic at risk.
Opioid Addiction in Henry County
As reported in the Northwest Signal, a recent community meeting was held at Patrick Henry High School on the opioid epidemic. A panel of experts presented a variety of information at the very informative and well-attended event.
Though not officially part of the event, our newly elected prosecutor Gwen Howe-Gebers stood and provided a strong statement on her experience pursuing and prosecuting dealers when a drug user overdoses.
The information presented that night including how to spot the signs of addiction; the extent of the problem here in Henry County; and the how the State, Counties, along with local law enforcement and healthcare officials are working together to combat Opioid addiction and its effects on our local communities.
An Urgent Need for More Resources
Obamacare’s repeal will have a ripple effect throughout the healthcare industry. Treatment will likely become more expensive, placing it again out of reach of many. Overburdened State agencies will have less ability to offer assistance. The good work and progress made by local officials may be in danger of being reversed.
Obamacare is not perfect, and honest reforms are needed. But a full repeal without replacement puts far too much progress in limbo. The cost of which will be measured in more overdoses, and more lives lost. Obamacare gives us all the resources needed to fight, and those resources must be preserved.
Opioid addiction is a healthcare issue. Every speaker that evening emphasized this important point. Law enforcement alone is not enough to protect our communities from drug addiction. From our multi-county policing task force, to our innovative drug courts, to the many healthcare professionals on the front lines – it will take a combined effort to turn the tide on addiction. Everyone is effected, and everyone has a role to play.