Senate Republicans are adding $45 billion to their ObamaCare replacement bill to fight opioid abuse, according to sources familiar with the discussions.
The move was widely expected as an attempt to win over moderate Republicans like Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanBiden huddles with group of senators on Ukraine-Russia tensions Overnight Defense & National Security — Texas hostage situation rattles nation Senators to meet with Ukraine president to reaffirm US support MORE (Ohio) and Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoLobbying world Republicans threaten floor takeover if Democrats weaken filibuster Like it or not, all roads forward for Democrats go through Joe Manchin MORE (W.Va.), who have both made the opioid epidemic a priority.
But both Portman and Capito have said that their concerns extend beyond opioid money to the deep cuts the legislation would make to Medicaid.
Capito said explicitly earlier this week that more opioid money would not be enough to win her over.
“More opioid funding would be very good and very beneficial, but the core for me is the Medicaid provision,” Capito said.
The change to the bill was first reported by Politico.
Sources say Republicans are also looking to expand the use of health savings accounts in the bill. Those are tax-free accounts people can use for medical expenses and are favored by conservatives. But conservatives have pushed for more than simply an HSA change to win their votes.
Rachel Roubein contributed.