Advocates fear GOP health plan will harm addicts

Despite the president's popular campaign promises to take on the country's opioid epidemic, some advocates say they are concerned the proposed Republican health care plan

Despite the president's popular campaign promises to take on the country's opioid epidemic, some advocates say they are concerned the proposed Republican health care plan could strip away addicts' coverage for treatment.

Despite the president's popular campaign promises to take on the country's opioid epidemic, some advocates say they are concerned the proposed Republican health care plan could strip away addicts' coverage for treatment. (3/10/17)

WOODBURY - Despite the president's popular campaign promises to take on the country's opioid epidemic, some advocates say they are concerned the proposed Republican health care plan could strip away addicts' coverage for treatment.

According to the CDC, opioids now kill more people than car accidents. 

"This is absolutely catastrophic," says Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds. He says the new health care bill, backed by the White House, would remove some protections the Affordable Care Act currently provides.

"The proposed bill removes substance abuse treatment and mental health coverage as an essential benefit, which means Medicaid and insurers could completely drop coverage for folks," Reynolds says.

But while New York clearly needs ample funds to combat heroin and opioid addiction, the new bill acknowledges that other states may have other needs, according to Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin, of Shirley.

"The bill, as currently written, does not direct a cut in addiction treatment," a spokesperson for the congressman tells News 12. "It gives states the flexibility to direct the funds they receive towards the health issues the states believe are most in need of attention -- be it addiction treatment services or other essential health services."

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