Congressman Norcross Demands Republicans Reinstate Addiction Coverage in TrumpCare Bill
Washington, DC–As Republicans in Congress debated changes to their health care bill, Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) today led a group of Representatives petitioning President Donald Trump to reverse provisions that would threaten coverage for drug addiction treatment.
“There’s a lot not to like about TrumpCare–higher costs, less coverage, an ‘age tax’ for seniors, gutting Medicaid, and endangering Medicare. But turning our backs on everyone in the grips of addiction is truly disgraceful,” said Congressman Norcross. “Addiction is a disease, just like any other medical condition covered by our health care laws. Incredibly, the Republican health care bill eliminates requirements for substance abuse and mental health coverage. This should upset all of us who have witnessed the agony of addiction through our own families and friends. I’ve met with parents who have lost their children to addiction and I’ve promised to fight for change. And just as we’re starting to make progress, this move will certainly claim more victims.”
Since 2010, the rate of heroin overdose deaths in New Jersey has tripled. In Gloucester County, the heroin death rate was 17.3 deaths per 100,000 people in 2014 – nearly 7 times the national average. Congressman Norcross was joined in sending the letter by Reps. Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02) and other members of the Bipartisan Taskforce to Combat the Opioid and Heroin Epidemic.
The letter reads in part: “As Members representing communities fighting on the front line of America’s opioid/heroin epidemic, we write to express our deep concern over provisions in the Majority’s American Health Care Act that would threaten coverage for drug addiction treatment. As you know, the opioid and heroin public health crisis has killed tens of thousands of Americans over the past several years and its effects are far reaching. Now is precisely the time we need to expand coverage for lifesaving addiction treatments, not endanger millions of Americans by removing mandates for substance abuse and mental-health coverage. Addiction does not differentiate between race, gender, wealthy or poor, urban or rural, political affiliation. We urge you to work with us as we continue to address this public health emergency.”
Last year, Congress passed the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) to provide community stakeholders added resources to address the opioid and heroin epidemic. Norcross also supported an additional $1 billion in federal funding to state opioid programs included within the 21st Century Cures Act. Norcross has also launched a new resource page for those dealing with the disease of addiction: www.norcross.house.gov/addiction.