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Trump’s first State of the Union touches on opioids, ACA

President Trump gave his first State of the Union speech last night covering a broad range of topics and hoping, with both content and rhetoric, to bring together a divided Congress and encourage support of his agenda.

The President briefly touched on the opioid crisis and cited his immigration policies and efforts, such as strengthening border security and the “wall”, will have a major impact on keeping drugs out of the country.

However,  his speech lacked specific details connecting to the issues especially given that 40 percent of the opioid deaths in the country in 2016 involved prescription painkillers manufactured by pharmaceutical companies. There has also been increases in overdoses from synthetic fentanyl, which is manufactured in China and shipped into the U.S.

President Trump in citing his accomplishments, mentioned repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The tax bill, passed last December, zeroed out the penalty for those who do not get insurance, with that clause becoming effective in 2019.  However, other provisions of the ACA remain intact, including allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26 and prohibitions from allowing insurance companies to charge differently for preexisting conditions.

Recently Sen. Mike Rounds shared that Congress should continue to work on health care in order to address insurance costs.  Sen. Rounds shared: “We recognize that it’s (ACA) still there, and that people who are having 20 and 30 percent increases per year — because Congress has not yet addressed — it would be in a lot better shape if Congress were to actually come back through and begin the steps of stabilizing the market and moving forward with changes to allow the states to actually write their own plans once again.”

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