Baldwin: ACA repeal would pull $5.5 billion from addiction services

The Wisconsin Gazette

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., joined  U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire,  in warning President Donald Trump that repealing the Affordable Care Act with no replacement would pull the rug out from under communities working to combat the opioid epidemic.

The senators said repeal could endanger millions of Americans just as they are getting treatment.

Repeal threatens to cut $5.5 billion from states battling opioid addiction. A recent report from Harvard Medical School and New York University details the impact repeal would have on people struggling with addiction. Nationwide, nearly 1.3 million Americans receiving treatment for substance abuse or mental health disorders would be kicked off of their coverage under repeal.

Also, states would lose $5.5 billion in federal dollars each year that go toward treating people through the Medicaid expansion or the marketplaces.

“The consequences of repealing the Affordable Care Act are dire for all Americans, but they are especially calamitous for Americans living with a mental illness, a substance use disorder, or both,” the senators wrote Trump in a letter sent earlier this week. “Repealing this law will cut billions of dollars in funding, kick tens of millions of Americans off of their health insurance and saddle providers with hundreds of millions of dollars more in uncompensated care.”

In December 2016, then-President Barack Obama signed into law the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act, legislation to provide $1 billion in federal grant funding over the next two years to states like Wisconsin, Ohio and New Hampshire that have been hard-hit by the opioid epidemic.

The letter was also signed by Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein, Patty Murray, Jack Reed, Thomas R. Carper, Debbie Stabenow, Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse, Kirsten Gillibrand, Al Franken, Richard Blumenthal, Brian Schatz, Christopher Murphy, Tim Kaine, Elizabeth Warren, Edward J. Markey, Cory Booker, Gary C. Peters, Chris Van Hollen and Margaret Wood Hassan.