Editorial: We’re curious – what does Price have to say?

  • FILE - In this Thursday, May 4, 2017, file photo, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, after the House pushed through a health care bill. Cutting nearly 1 trillion from Medicaid will give states the freedom to tailor the program to suit their needs, Price said Sunday, May 7, as he defended a narrowly passed House bill that aims to undo parts of the health care law enacted by the previous administration. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) Evan Vucci

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

President Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is scheduled to come to the state today to talk about New Hampshire’s horrific opioid abuse problem. While campaigning, the nation’s salesman-in-chief boasted that he would end the opioid epidemic. Since then, his proposals for massive budget cuts to programs to prevent and treat addiction promise to do just the opposite. So why we wonder, is Price here? If it’s to put a syrupy gloss on cuts that the state’s congressional delegation and governor say would be devastating, he’s wasting our jet fuel.

Trump’s budget slashes federal funding for the Office of National Drug Control Policy from $388 million to $24 million. It proposes $100 million in cuts to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grants that support services to addicts. The House health reform bill that Trump endorses would cut $880 billion in Medicaid spending and roll back expanded Medicaid programs in states like New Hampshire. That money pays for the lion’s share of the state’s substance abuse treatment effort.

It gets worse. The House bill allows states to get waivers that give them the authority to permits insurers to limit or eliminate treatment and addiction services from the coverage they sell.

Trump plans to slash the budget of the Office of National Drug Control Policy by 95 percent. He’s proposed eliminating one of the two programs that combat drug trafficking in areas with severe drug abuse. One of them is New Hampshire.

The president’s proposal to reduce the use of illegal drugs by building an enormous wall between Mexico and the United States is silly. The Great Wall of China didn’t keep out the barbarians. His wall won’t keep out drugs that will go over, under or around it.

We’re curious to hear what Price has to say.