Monday, March 12, 2018

Opioid Epidemic, ObamaCare and Medicaid.

Here's one reason the opioid epidemic is out of control. ObamaCare, and Obama's enormous expansion of Medicaid, basically offering free healthcare to millions of able-bodied people, is a major factor behind the exploding opioid crisis according to a new report released by the Senate Homeland Security Committee. The media is hiding this report from the public.
About 80 percent of heroin and fentanyl users spiraled into their addictions after first getting hooked on prescription painkillers. The ObamaCare Medicaid expansion made those painkillers widely and cheaply available. The report confirms a dramatic increase in access to drugs through the Medicaid expansion, a massive government program that makes it easier for one-fifth of the population to get drugs for free. Opioid prescribing rates among Medicaid enrollees are double the rates for persons with private insurance. Medicaid beneficiaries are 6 times more likely to die of opioid-related causes.
More than 80 percent of Medicaid-opioids fraud cases were filed in Medicaid expansion states, led by New York, Michigan, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Ohio. The number of criminal cases increased 55 percent in the first four years after the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion. Drug overdose deaths are increasing almost twice as fast in Medicaid expansion states, hospital stays for opioid-related issues “massively spiked” after expansion, and Medicaid spending for drug abuse treatment is rising faster in Medicaid expansion states.
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. While Medicaid also includes programs to fight drug abuse, many of these programs give addicts other pharmaceutical treatments that can themselves become addictive, especially when they fall into the hands of street pushers.
The report studied hundreds of cases in which Medicaid was abused and defrauded to obtain opioids that were often resold on the streets. We can talk morality all day long, but if you’re drawing five hundred dollars a month and you have a Medicaid card that allows you to get a monthly supply of pills worth several thousand dollars, you’re going to sell your pills.
Some of the Medicaid fraud cases were organized conspiracies involving large numbers of Medicaid beneficiaries recruited to provide inventory to drug dealers. The largest scheme chronicled in the report saw over a billion dollars change hands. Pharmacists are more likely to fill dubious prescriptions when Medicaid is involved.
The Senate Homeland Security report further notes that Medicaid fraud is rampant and has not been handled effectively by the government, a fact known to any serious student of the waste, fraud, and abuse that politicians of both parties vow to crack down upon during every election.
Other fraud-susceptible programs such as Medicare, the VA, and the food stamp program are duly cited by the report as sources of opioids. It is well-known that some SNAP card holders engage in “trafficking” of their benefits, and often purchase drugs with the money they receive. This has been specifically cited as a contributing factor to the opioid crisis. Also, shop owners have been prosecuted for allowing customers to use SNAP benefits to pay directly for forbidden items. One such case documented in the Senate report involved a small grocery store with a back-room stash of “Medicaid-funded OxyContin pills.”
“There appears to be no limit to the types of schemes used to scam the Medicaid program, from large drug rings that employ beneficiaries as ‘runners’ to fill oxycodone prescriptions, to nurses working the night shift who steal hydrocodone pills from patients. Illicit painkillers obtained with Medicaid cards are being resold at handsome profits nationwide, in places ranging from the streets of Milwaukee to a Native American reservation in upstate New York.”
Another problem is the illicit use of drugs intended to treat drug addiction, notably suboxone. The wrongful prescribing of suboxone is flooding our communities with yet another drug that is killing our children.
Conversely, eight of the 15 states with the lowest overdose rates did not expand Medicaid. The state Medicaid expansion had the perverse effect of enrolling able-bodied, childless adults in their Medicaid programs. Able-bodied childless adults are also the main group dying from opioid addiction and overdoses.

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