On Sunday, Gov. John Kasich dismissed the $45 billion fund for opioid treatment that some Republicans have floated as a potential “sweetener” for moderates as completely insufficient to address the problem.
In an interview with Martha Raddatz for ABC’s This Week, the Ohio Republican and unsuccessful 2016 presidential candidate slammed an attempt by his party’s leaders to “buy people off” to ensure 51 votes for its Obamacare repeal proposal.
McConnell reportedly offered to amend his “Better Care Reconciliation Act” to include the $45 billion proposal, in an effort to win the votes of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Rob Portman (R-OH). As written, the bill would mean massive cuts to mental health and substance abuse programs and, according to the American Medical Association would render states unable to deal with the opioid epidemic.
But according to Kasich, that amount would not come close to solving the problem. “That would give me a billion over ten years? Not even quite that. It’s anemic. As I said to Senator Portman at one point, it’s like spitting in the ocean. It’s not enough.”
Kasich added that while he doesn’t like having to speak out against his own party’s leaders, this is an example of “efforts to try to buy people off.”
“They’ll throw big high numbers, but they won’t understand the impact on the program,” he predicted.
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Still, the Trump administration may not even want the $45 billion amount. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday that “we don’t need to be throwing money” at the opioid crisis.