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Dems’ “Better Deal” Doesn’t Address the Opioid Crisis

Senate Democrats have been hammering Senate Republicans for cuts to opioid treatment in the GOP health bill, but their new “Better Way” agenda doesn’t address the critical subject.

Democratic senators

Democrats from states impacted by the opioid crisis have been criticizing the GOP health care effort for what Democrats consider to be inadequate funding to address the critical issue.

Twenty Democratic senators signed a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on funding cuts to fighting opioid abuse in March. Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) “said the Republican proposal for federal grants would not come close to mitigating the harm caused by the bill’s Medicaid cuts” in June.

The newly-released “Better Deal” plan – Senate and House Democrats’ early shot at an agenda for Congress if they take power in 2018 – does not address the opioid crisis.

Courtesy of Axios, the Democrats released four documents on their “Better Deal”:

  • A one-page summary: “Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future”
  • A jobs page: “Help 10 Million Americans Get Full-Time, Good-Paying Jobs”
  • A health page: “Lowering the Cost of Prescription Drugs”
  • A business page: “Cracking Down on Corporate Monopolies and the Abuse of Economic and Political Power”

There is not one word in the four documents about opioids or the ongoing crisis.

This is bound to make it harder for Democrats like Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) – who in March opened a probe of opioid drugmakers – to get on board with the Democrats’ 2018 agenda. McCaskill – and other Democratic senators from states who have borne the brunt of the opioid crisis – are sure to notice the gaping hole in this “Better Deal.”