Kevin Cramer’s ‘health care’ bill threatens addiction treatment for 1.84 million Americans

Cramer says his priority is addressing the addiction crisis; his actions tell a different story

(BISMARCK, ND) – Last week, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its official analysis of the Republican ‘health care’ bill. According to the CBO, 23 million Americans would lose their health insurance and 1.84 million Americans seeking treatment for drug addiction and mental health disorders would be at risk of losing coverage or facing substantially higher costs. 

In North Dakota, where the number of overdose deaths increased 125 percent from 2013-14, Cramer helped pass a bill that would dismantle many of the protections necessary to address this crisis.

“Cramer likes to talk about how he prioritizes fighting the opioid abuse crisis that’s become so prevalent and painful for many families in North Dakota, particularly in our rural communities,” said Democratic-NPL executive director Robert Haider. “But when it comes time to turn words into action, we see Cramer’s true colors. This legislation, which every independent analysis shows will be awful for North Dakota, threatens to leave nearly 2 million Americans seeking addiction treatment out in the cold.”

The Republican health care bill, which Cramer has championed, would cut $880 billion from Medicaid and effectively end Medicaid expansion. According to the U.S. Joint Economic Committee, Medicaid covers 17.4 percent of opioid addiction treatment in North Dakota. The Republican legislation also allows states to rescind many of the existing protections related to health insurance benefits, including those dealing with addiction treatment and mental health care. The CBO estimates that one-third of Americans live in states that would rescind some protections and one-sixth of Americans live in states that would rescind many protections.

This means that 1.84 million Americans who are currently receiving treatment for substance-use disorders would be at risk of losing their coverage and/or being forced to pay much higher costs for their care.

“At a time when North Dakota is confronting an addiction crisis, Kevin Cramer is putting partisan politics ahead of the citizens he represents,” added Haider. “Cramer’s backwards priorities threaten our families.”   

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The Republican ‘health care’ bill threatens addiction treatment for1.84 million Americans: Approximately 1.84 million people in the US are receiving treatment for substance-use disorders or mental illnesses through the Medicaid expansion or the ACA’s individual insurance marketplace, according to research conducted by Richard Frank, a professor of health economics at Harvard Medical School, and Sherry Glied, a dean at New York University. All of those people would be at risk of losing the approximately $5.5 billion paid out for treatment through those two avenues of insurance.