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Story highlights

Trump supports the GOP health care proposal

It would allow states to cut back on Medicaid spending

(CNN) —  

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump repeatedly and forcefully promised to expand access to drug treatment, strengthen prevention options and address the scourge of drug addiction after hearing about many Americans’ struggle with opiate abuse.

Now, Trump’s rhetoric as a candidate is running headfirst into the realities of Trump the president as Republicans promote their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The current version of the Trump-backed Republican health care plan would end the Obamacare requirement that addiction services and mental health treatment be covered under Medicaid in the 31 states that expanded the health care program. The GOP plan would instead leave up to states – and their budgets – to decide whether to cover drug treatment and mental health services under Medicaid. That’s a decision advocates say could put the most vulnerable opiate abusers in greater risk, thanks to near-constant pressure on state budgets.

“If you cut off even the essential funding for people to get that treatment, they simply won’t get it,” said Dr. David C. Lewis, the founder of the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies. “That is the problem.”

Dr. Andrew Kolodny, the director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative at Brandeis University, called the proposed change a “step in the wrong direction at a time when America’s most urgent public health crisis is an addictive disorder.”

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