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Let’s Do More to Treat Addiction

Issue of the Week

Jan. 10, 2017
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Gov. Scott Walker called a special session of the Legislature to address opioid addiction, a crisis that’s impacting just about every community throughout the state. We support Gov. Walker’s focus on treating addiction but we encourage him to do even more to help those with a substance use disorder. Let’s not just call the Legislature into session to pass a few bills that help around the margins but generate glowing headlines. Special legislative sessions focus the state’s attention on a serious issue and hopefully the governor will really step up and use this opportunity to try to enact some policies that will make a real difference in the lives of those who are truly in need of help.

Why not start with a renewed commitment to providing access to affordable health insurance that covers successful treatment options? Unfortunately, Walker famously refused federal funds to fully expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and his Republican allies in Washington, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, are gleeful at the prospect of repealing Obamacare without providing a workable replacement and also cutting Medicaid. But many individuals who are struggling with an addiction need affordable access to treatment, including in-patient detox and recovery and treatment with medication. Will Walker make sure that those battling an opioid addiction will have insurance coverage, no matter what happens to Obamacare or Medicaid? Will he make sure that private insurance policies include high-quality, affordable treatment coverage? Then, too, recovering addicts need supportive housing and ongoing counseling to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Walker could push for more services for recovering addicts in the community to ensure their long-term success. 

We’re glad that Walker and his fellow Republicans are addressing the opioid crisis. We just hope that they use this opportunity to make an investment in Wisconsin’s future and support programs that will have the greatest impact on those who want to live their lives free of addiction.

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