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Florida Lawmaker: New Health Care Bill Would Limit Treatment For Opioid Abuse

Parts of the stalled Senate health care bill could hurt those addicted to opioids. That’s according to Tampa Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor, who says the bill would limit access to substance abuse treatment.

The bill would phase out Medicaid expansion under Obamacare and cap future spending which could reduce the number of people covered. Castor says many Floridians addicted to opioids depend on Medicaid for treatment. Republicans in Congress have proposed dedicating an additional $45 billion over the next decade to combating the opioid crisis.

But Castor said funding alone is not a substitute for health insurance.

“The key to treatment is a consistent plan. You can’t just…go to the ER, and maybe they’re getting some additional dollars for a referral for a day or two of treatment. You have to have coverage,” she said.

Castor said Medicaid coverage for addiction treatment is especially critical in Florida because the state ranks worst in the country for mental health and substance abuse funding per capita.

WUSF is a partner with Health News Florida, a statewide collaborative reporting on health care.

Health reporting on WMFE is supported in part by AdventHealth.

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