Portman's Vote Could Have Big Impact On Opioid Treatment

Sen. Rob Portman at Trump Tower in Dec., 2016. [JStone / shutterstock.com]
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Senate Republicans took another stab at health care reform Thursday and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s support is viewed as critical. The previous version of the GOP bill included $2 billion for opioid treatment and was rejected by Portman. Today’s version has $45 billion through 2026. But one local treatment provider says it will do little if combined with cuts to Medicaid.

Thomas Stuber is CEO of LCADA Way, an substance abuse treatment provider in Northeast Ohio. He is not a supporter of the Republicans’ opioid treatment proposal.

“That will pretty much reduce or eliminate effective treatment in the state of Ohio," says Stuber.

He says in the past four years LCADA’s revenue from Medicaid patients has jumped from $1 million a year to $6 million last year. And that increase has been fueled, he says, by the opioid epidemic. Republicans are proposing a phase out of Medicaid expansion and a cap on spending. Sen. Rob Portman announced shortly after the bill was released that he still has concerns about its Medicaid policies and its effect on opioid treatment. Stuber says he’s worked with both Portman and Sen. Sherrod Brown on this topic.

“I know that funds are now being promised to try to offset but I do believe both of them understand the importance of maintaining Medicaid as it is right now," says Stuber.

Republicans need 50 votes to advance the bill, meaning they only have two to spare.

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