Mass. lawmaker: Obamacare repeal would worsen opioid epidemic


NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — Massachusetts Rep. James Keating hosted a round-table meeting with health care professionals and recovering addicts at St. Luke’s Hospital Monday, making the case that a reduction in MassHealth coverage would worsen the ongoing opioid crisis.

Health care professionals at the discussion agreed that MassHealth would be in jeopardy if the Affordable Care Act is successfully repealed by Congress. If MassHealth does collapse, opponents of the GOP health care plan said more than 300,000 people would be at risk of losing their insurance. In addition, opponents said 195,000 additional people who purchase their insurance through the MassHealth connector would also be at risk.

“If there is no Affordable Care Act, there is no MassHealth,” Keating said.

During Monday’s discussion, 22-year-old Justin Clancy said he is a recovering addict and that his MassHealth coverage has already saved his life.

“If it wasn’t for the essential health benefits that came along with MassHealth under the substance abuse, I wouldn’t be alive today and neither would a lot of my friends,” Clancy said. “And the people that I love would not be alive today as well.”

The Massachusetts Republican Party did not respond to an Eyewitness News request for comment.

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