The American political climate at the moment is turbulent, to say the least. The recent presidential has divided the country at an unprecedented rate, and every new policy change or bill only widens this schism. While every day seems to bring new controversy, the most recent debate lies with the proposed replacement to the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. While flawed, the plan has provided healthcare to millions who were previously uninsured. Donald Trump, upon election, vowed to repeal and replace the ACA with his own plan. Now that the details of the plan have been released, a great deal of criticism has befallen the legislation, mainly focused on its lack of coverage for a multitude of conditions. This morning, the bill came under a great deal of scrutiny for apparently omitting care for two major demographics: mental illness and addiction.
The move isn’t necessarily a surprising one; the proposed bill cuts care in almost every field, but voters on both party lines are upset by it. In fact, the decision comes as a strange one based on where Trump accumulated most of his votes. Studies have shown that the communities most effected by the opioid epidemic are also where Trump won the most votes in the 2016 election. This data is not only shocking, but begs the question – how, in the middle of the opioid epidemic, can one justify the omission of addiction and mental illness from health care plans?
The decision falls in line with Trump’s position that many decisions involving health care should be left at the state level. This means that the inclusion of addiction and mental health into the medicare and medicaid plans will be up to state legislature, rather than nationally mandated. Regardless of political position, it’s understandable to be wary of this decision. 25% of all overdoses are from heroin, and 60% of all overdose deaths are caused by opioids. These numbers shatter all previous records, and indicate that the opioid epidemic is only growing stronger. Hopefully the dangers of this epidemic will be recognized by the United States government, and more can be done to impede its growth on a national level.