Friday, February 9, 2018

Senate Report: Obamacare and Medicaid Expansion Contributed to the Opioid Epidemic



The following article appeared in Breitbart on February 8th

By John Hayward

The Senate Homeland Security Committee released a report in mid-January that received surprisingly little media attention despite its provocative assertion that Obamacare, and particularly its enormous expansion of Medicaid, is a driving force behind the opioid epidemic.

The case laid out by the report is straightforward, logical, and politically unspeakable. It’s an argument generally made in hushed tones until now, and it’s easy to see why. Even the Senate Homeland Security report was swiftly denounced as a “partisan fantasy” peddled by chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) in what little mainstream media coverage it received. Thou shalt not speak ill of Medicaid.
And yet, the critics could find no way to refute the actual data in the report. They denounced it with thunderous virtue-signaling outrage, attacked those involved in preparing it, criticized arguments it did not make – such as pretending the report claims the opioid epidemic was caused by Medicaid expansion, rather than exacerbated by it – or simply assumed that all critiques of Medicaid and Obamacare must be partisan hit jobs, Q.E.D.

This validates one of the core concerns about politicizing medicine, or any other scientific field, by putting Big Government in charge of it. Rational discussion becomes impossible. Every analysis quickly devolves into a partisan brawl.

The report postulates Medicaid expansion is a contributing factor to the epidemic of opioid abuse – not the sole or original cause, as the report itself and Sen. Johnson took pains to point out, despite mischaracterizations by critics. Much of the opioid crisis involves prescription drugs, which can become addictive even when legitimately prescribed and are often stolen through fraud and resold on the street. Medicaid expansion greatly increased access to prescription drugs. Medicaid also includes programs to fight drug abuse, but some of those programs involve pharmaceutical treatments that can themselves become addictive, especially when they fall into the hands of street pushers.

It requires no great leap of logic to see the connection between a dramatic increase in access to drugs and a problem driven by easy access to drugs, and yet it is evidently heretical to state that relationship out loud.
That’s even more remarkable when the increased use and abuse of painkillers is universally acknowledged as a major element of the opioid crisis.

(Article continues HERE)

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