Donald Trump and Republicans talked a good game about solving the opioid crisis on Thursday, but some of the very same proposals they have put forward this year would make it much harder for drug addicts to receive the treatment they need to turn their lives around.
In an interview on MSNBC Thursday night, Joy Reid called out one GOP member of Congress for voting to cut Medicaid, which would hurt those who need addiction treatment the most.
The Republican congressman from Kentucky immediately imploded on live television, first trying to dodge the question before telling Reid that the real problem is that too many people are on Medicaid.
— Sean Colarossi (@SeanColarossi) October 27, 2017
First, the MSNBC host asked, “How can you justify voting for a budget that cuts the very Medicaid funds needed to treat the opioid-addicted in your state?”
The Kentucky congressman immediately looked lost, saying, “Well, there are people that are addicted to opioids that aren’t on Medicaid, so this affects a large group of people.”
Armed with the facts, Reid quickly shot back: “But the majority of those who are addicted utilize Medicaid in their treatment. How can you justify cutting those funds?”
Grasping at straws, the GOP representative said the real problem isn’t really the opioid epidemic – it’s Medicaid: “We’re still going to have Medicaid. In Kentucky, we have a Medicaid problem where we have too many people on Medicaid, but that’s another story.”
Another story, indeed.
The real story, at least in this particular case is that Republicans want you to believe they give a hoot about the opioid crisis in America, while they continue to support proposals and vote for budgets that cut funding that is instrumental in helping the drug-addicted get treatment.
If this president and his allies in Congress want to prove that they care about taking on this critical fight, they can start by strengthening Medicaid, not trying to dismantle it at every turn.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.