About Us
Mission Statement
Rules of Conduct
Remember Me

Got Drugs?
Author: TriSec    Date: 05/06/2017 12:10:13

You'll need some after reading this latest Trumpian atrocity.

The Trump administration is proposing to gut the budget of the White House “drug czar” by 95 percent, effectively eliminating the decades-old Office of National Drug Control Policy, the lead federal agency responsible for managing and coordinating drug policy, according to a memo that its acting director sent Friday to agency employees.

The draft budget plan comes as the nation is struggling with an escalating opioid epidemic. Ending opioid addiction was a centerpiece of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and he drew support from many of the rural areas and small ­working-class towns hit hardest by the drug crisis. In March, President Trump commissioned a new addiction task force to help combat the opioid crisis, tapping his friend and former rival New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ® to lead the fight.

But in an email sent to full-time employees, Richard Baum, the acting director of the office, said the administration’s proposed cuts for the fiscal year that begins in October “reflects a nearly 95 percent” reduction in the agency’s budget. The proposed $364 million cut would leave a budget of just $24 million and eliminate its two major programs.

Baum wrote the cuts are “at odds with the fact that the President has tasked us with supporting his Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.” He called them “drastic” and “frankly heartbreaking.”

Roughly half the office’s staff, or 33 full-time employees, would be eliminated, the memo said.

“That budget wouldn’t pay the heating bill at the Pentagon,” said Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired U.S. Army general, who headed the office under President Bill Clinton between 1996 and 2001. “It sends a terrible message. Why send this bizarre political signal in the middle of what is without question a major health-care crisis in America? It’s very strange.”

You'll notice TriSec's mouth moving, but no sounds are coming out. This goes hand-in-hand with Thursday's debacle. Let's kick people off insurance, increase their premiums, then eliminate any federal programs that might help with addiction or restricting access to illegal drugs. Something in the water does not compute.

I want you to think about that while I introduce you to my friend and neighbor, Peter Koutoujian. (No, really. I'm looking at his house out my front window as I type this.) Pete is currently the Middlesex County Sheriff, after serving our neighborhood in the Massachusetts General Court for a number of years.

He's worked for a number of years to reform prisoner treatment, as well as adding programs for veterans, drug addiction, neighborhood outreach, and who knows what else in an effort to reduce recidivism and overall crime rates. He's been succesful enough at this that some of the programs were presented to President Obama over the last few years. This is what a true progressive looks like, IMHO.

But it's all about healthcare this week - so I want you to think about "Obamacare" for just a minute. President Obama actually had little to do with it, despite it bearing his name. We all know it's the national version of this Commonwealth's "Romneycare". But Mitt the Twit had little to do with it at the local level. There was a gentleman by the name of Charlie Baker, who I once worked for, who saved Harvard Pilgrim Health Care from bankruptcy and collapse, and got noticed by the administration. He was then tapped to craft the legislation that we all know and like.

Mr. Baker is now governor himself, and he's predicting disaster if this steaming Trumpload passes the senate.

The projected $1 billion cost to Massachusetts of the Republican's bill to repeal and replace Obamacare would be a "difficult pill to swallow," said Gov. Charlie Baker in a statement promising to "protect Massachusetts' health care system."

Released following the House's move to pass repeal and replace legislation altering major parts of the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, the governor in his statement said he's holding out for "a different plan" that "works for Massachusetts."

"Massachusetts leads the nation in health care coverage and I am disappointed by today's vote as this bill would significantly reduce critical funds for the Commonwealth's health care system," Baker said. "As the U.S. Senate takes up this bill, we will continue to advocate for the Commonwealth's priorities so that all residents have access to the health coverage they need. Maintaining flexibility through the Medicaid program is critical to the Commonwealth's ability to provide coverage for the needy and I urge Congress to reject this bill in its current form."

Thursday's narrow House vote of 217 to 213 received no Democratic support while a total of 20 Republicans defected, casting opposing votes.

The proposed legislation faces a tough road ahead in the Senate -- where some Republican leaders have already announced plans to scrap many of its key provisions, according to The New York Times.

Baker, a former health insurance CEO, added, "There are things we can do to fix the Affordable Care Act. I have written long and fairly, some would say, wonky and nerdy letters about the things that can be done to fix the Affordable Care Act. We have had conversations with the Obama and Trump Administrations about that, my big concern today is it would cost the Commonwealth of Massachusetts $1 billion and I would like to see a different plan."

The entire Massachusetts congressional delegation has joined the governor in opposition to the Republican proposal.

In a nationwide ranking early in 2017, U.S. News and World Report ranked Massachusetts as the second-best state in the nation in overall healthcare quality and access.

So there you have it.


1 comments (Latest Comment: 05/06/2017 14:23:37 by Will in Chicago)
   Perma Link

Share This!

Furl it!