GOP’s health care rollback collides with the opioid epidemic

FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo, shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Two-thirds of the respondents in a Yahoo/Marist poll released Monday, April 17, 2017, said opioid drugs such as Vicodin or OxyContin are "riskier" to use than pot, even when the pain pills are prescribed by a doctor. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Republican campaign to roll back former President Barack Obama’s heath care law is colliding with the opioid epidemic.

Medicaid cutbacks would hit hard in states deeply affected by the addiction crisis. That’s according to state data and concerned lawmakers in both parties.

The GOP health care bill would phase out expanded Medicaid, which allows states to provide federally backed insurance to low-income adults previously not eligible. Many young adults dealing with addiction are in that group. Federal dollars pay for medication, rehab and other services.

According to data compiled by The Associated Press, Medicaid expansion accounted for 61 percent of total Medicaid spending on substance abuse treatment in Kentucky, 56 percent in Michigan and 59 percent in Maryland.

They’re among the states hardest hit by overdoses.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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