Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General

AGs to Trump: Fund Addiction Treatment in Health Law Replacement

April 28, 2017

As published by The Times Union on April 24, 2017.

New York’s Eric Schneiderman joined 19 other attorneys general around the country Friday in urging President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress to adequately fund drug treatment in their replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act as their states grapple with a staggering heroin and opioid epidemic.

In an April 21 letter to the president, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the attorneys general say that the Affordable Care Act brought insurance coverage to 2.8 million Americans fighting addiction who previously did not have it.

The initial Republican replacement plan, abandoned in late March due to lack of congressional support, would have cut  funding for drug treatment by an estimated $5.5 billion. Changes to Medicaid in the American Health Care Act would put another $7.9 billion in treatment funding in jeopardy, according to Schneiderman’s office.

“In the midst of an ongoing public health crisis, the federal government cannot abandon this commitment to our communities,” the group stated in its letter. “Our nation faces a drug epidemic that grows more difficult and dangerous by the hour. These drugs are causing record numbers of overdoses and are destabilizing whole communities.”

The President has said in recent days that he plans to return to pushing for passage of a replacement plan for the ACA, known by the name Obamacare, before tackling tax reform. Both issues were promises of his campaign.

In addition to New York, the letter was signed by attorneys general representing Kentucky, New Mexico, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Virginia, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Oregon, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Washington and the District of Columbia.