Senate GOP considers adding opioid funding to ObamaCare repeal bill

Senate GOP considers adding opioid funding to ObamaCare repeal bill
© Getty Images

Senate Republicans are considering adding funding for opioid abuse treatment to their ObamaCare repeal bill, according to senators and aides.

The move would be meant to ease concerns about the effect on opioid addiction treatment from rolling back ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid, which currently plays a major role in providing coverage for that treatment.

But it's unclear how much funding would be included and whether that could meaningfully fill the gap.

“It's something that we have had a number of discussions about,” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said of adding funding for treating opioid addiction to the bill.

It remains unclear whether the funding for states will end up being included in the bill that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDems confront Kelly after he calls some immigrants 'lazy' McConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration Overnight Defense: Latest on spending fight - House passes stopgap with defense money while Senate nears two-year budget deal | Pentagon planning military parade for Trump | Afghan war will cost B in 2018 MORE (R-Ky.) is sending to the Congressional Budget Office.

Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP leader: Congress may settle for pared-down immigration deal Senate Republicans call on Trump to preserve NAFTA Key senator floats new compromise for immigration talks MORE (R-Ohio) has been one of the leaders of the push for the new funding.

Portman is also proposing to roll back the federal funding for ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion over a seven-year timeline.

“In addition to my efforts to give governors more time and flexibility to adjust to a new system, I’m working with my colleagues to provide governors with a dedicated new funding stream to ensure those using expanded Medicaid resources to treat their addiction can continue to receive treatment as they work to get back on their feet,” Portman said in a statement to the Columbus Dispatch.

Rounds argued that a new funding source would be better than using the Medicaid system for funding opioid addiction treatment.

“I think maybe rather than having people stay on Medicaid to get the funding, I think we look directly at it as a problem we can resolve more efficiently with some sort of a funded program specifically for that,” Rounds said.