Senate GOP considers adding opioid funding to ObamaCare repeal bill

Senate GOP considers adding opioid funding to ObamaCare repeal bill
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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 McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.) is sending to the Congressional Budget Office.

Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Overnight Finance: House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama | GOP leaders to consider Dec. 30 spending bill | Justices skeptical of ban on sports betting | Mulvaney won't fire official who sued him How four GOP senators guided a tax-bill victory behind the scenes 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.