March 16, 2017

ICYMI: Senator Hassan Highlights Need for Continued Federal Action to Combat Substance Misuse Crisis in Maiden Floor Speech

ICYMI: Senator Hassan Highlights Need for Continued Federal Action to Combat Substance Misuse Crisis in Maiden Floor Speech

 

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Senator Maggie Hassan delivered her first official speech on the U.S. Senate floor, focusing on the need for continued bipartisan federal action to combat the heroin, fentanyl, and opioid crisis.

 

Click here for the full video of Senator Hassan's speech or see below for a recap of coverage:

 

Eagle Tribune:

 

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan delivered her maiden address on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon, where she spoke about the Granite State’s ongoing opioid epidemic and what President Donald Trump’s new health care plan could mean for funding a solution.

 

Naming addiction as “the most pressing public health and safety crisis” facing the state, Hassan shared stories of recovery and loss, many of which she heard during her two terms as governor.

 

… “We know that the road ahead will not be easy. The scourge of addiction requires us at times to change the way we have always done things, at a quicker pace than is sometimes comfortable,” she said. “But that can never be an excuse for inaction.”

 

… “But we must continue to work together, at all levels of government and with those on the front lines to battle this crisis,” she said.

 

The Democrat spoke of thousands of people in her home state who received treatment after gaining coverage through a Medicaid expansion program.

 

“What is clear, and what I hear from people in recovery centers all across my state, is that lives are being changed, and saved, as a result of Medicaid expansion,” she said.

 

In addition to making the opioid crisis worse, Hassan believes the Republican health care proposal known as “Trumpcare” would affect countless others across the nation, including individuals who buy their own insurance, older Americans and women and families who rely on Planned Parenthood.

 

“Substance use disorder treatment providers have been clear that if Medicaid expansion is repealed, they will have to significantly cut back on the help that they can provide to those in need,” she said.

 

Hassan said she plans to continue to work with fellow New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and anyone willing to work across party lines, to help secure a place in treatment programs for those struggling.

 

NH1:

 

Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan used her first official speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate to highlight New Hampshire’s acute heroin and opioid epidemic.

 

The freshman Democrat also used her address to highlight the negative impact she says the Republican plan to repeal and replace the federal health care law, best known as Obamacare, will have on the Granite State’s efforts to combat the drug crisis.

 

“I am extremely concerned about the effect that legislation introduced by House Republicans last week – also known as Trumpcare – would have on our efforts to combat substance misuse,” Hassan said on Wednesday afternoon.

 

… Hassan touted that she’s working “on additional legislation that would help combat this substance misuse crisis.”

 

She highlighted that she’s teaming up with other senators on two different pieces of legislation that would crack down on synthetic drugs that are feeding the crisis, and a third bill that would set up permanent funding to expand substance misuse treatment.

 

WMUR:

 

HASSAN’S MAIDEN SPEECH. Sen. Maggie Hassan focused on the opioid epidemic and her deep concerns with the U.S. House Republicans’ Affordable Care Act replacement bill in her maiden speech on the Senate floor Wednesday.

 

Hassan shared the stories of several Granite Staters who have been affected by substance abuse, including Phil Spagnuolo, who appeared with Hassan and Shaheen at a news conference Monday.

 

Spagnuolo “lost his home and nearly everything” as a result of his substance abuse disorder, but received coverage for treatment through Medicaid expansion, is now “substance-free” and has become a recovery coach, Hassan said in her speech.

 

She also mentioned Ashley Hurteau, who is now in recovery from heroin addiction and is employed at Safe Harbor Recovery Center in Portsmouth. Hurteau was Hassan’s guest at Trump’s joint address to Congress on Feb. 28.

 

The GOP bill “would end Medicaid expansion, which experts have said is the most important tool available to fight the substance use crisis,” Hassan said. “We know there is more work to do to improve and build on the Affordable Care Act, but this ‘TrumpCare’ bill is not the answer.”

 

Union Leader:

 

THE DRUG scourge needs an “all hands on deck” approach, including a renewed bipartisan push, said U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, in her first floor speech Wednesday. She described the focus in terms of Granite State mettle, a combination of “rugged individualism” and a strong sense of community and responsibility. “The heroin, opioid and fentanyl crisis is the most pressing public safety challenge facing New Hampshire,” she said. Hassan noted that about 500 people died from drug overdoses in 2016 in New Hampshire, with as many as 70 percent involving fentanyl. She spoke of hearing inspiring stories, and tragic ones, such as a woman at the governor’s annual Easter Egg hunt at Bridges House in Concord sharing that the cute baby in her arms was actually her grandson, and that the baby’s mother died from an overdose. Hassan, who is working on additional legislation in the fight against the drug epidemic, said that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act is one key in the fight. “This Trumpcare bill is not the answer,” she said, in reference to the new GOP replacement plan, the American Health Care Act.

 

Boston.com:

 

Sen. Maggie Hassan devoted the first floor speech of her Senate career Wednesday to speaking about efforts to address the local opioid crisis — and how she says the recently introduced Republican health care bill would harm those efforts.

 

… The current version of House Republicans’ bill, which is supported by President Donald Trump, proposes to end Obamacare’s state-based Medicaid expansion beginning in 2020 and cap federal payments to programs. The bill would also reportedly end the Obamacare requirement for addiction and mental health coverage in the 31 states that expanded Medicaid.

 

… “Repealing Medicaid expansion and capping traditional Medicaid would severely hurt the ability of those on the front lines to save lives and combat this deadly epidemic,” she said. “Substance use disorder treatment providers have been clear that if Medicaid expansion is repealed, they will have to significantly cut back on the help that they can provide to those in need.”

 

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