Recovery Bulletin
July 6, 2017  | 

July 2017 Addiction Policy Update


On June 27th, Senate leaders announced they were delaying a vote on their repeal and replace discussion bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA), until after the July 4th recess to allow time for further negotiations on the package. The announcement came after several senators including Senators Collins (R-ME), Heller (R-NV), Johnson (R-WI), and Paul (R-KY) said that they would vote “no” on a procedural vote to begin debate on the bill.

The new goal for passing a repeal and replace package is now August 1; if consensus on a bill can be reached quickly, the Senate might vote around the week of July 17th.

The situation remains very fluid and, similar to the struggle House leaders faced, any significant changes that appeal to moderates will likely lose a conservative’s vote and vice versa.


Some of the key issues under debate & discussion include:


The changes in the bill to the Medicaid program, including phasing out of the enhanced match for the Medicaid expansion population and changing the financing of the system to a per capita or block grant system, continue to be sticking points. In a joint statement from Senators Portman (R-OH) and Capito (R-WV) expressing opposition to the BCRA as drafted, they pointed to Medicaid’s coverage of treatment for substance use disorders as one of their primary concerns with the bill. However, on the other side of the debate, Sen. Toomey (R-PA) said that keeping the changes to Medicaid are “very, very important to me.


It was announced on June 28th that $45 billion to address the opioid misuse and overdose epidemic would be added to the package. While Senators Portman and Capito have been pushing for this funding, whether or not the additional funds will be enough to bring the Senators on board remains unclear. As referenced above, both Senators have stressed that they remain concerned with the changes to Medicaid. Portman told reporters the funding is “progress” but “there are also a lot of missing parts” and Sen. Capito said the money needs to be paired with more generous Medicaid coverage.



This Policy Update was generously provided by Holly Strain & Carol McDaid of Capitol Decisions.