“That downshifting of cost to a state like ours is unfair,” Sununu said. “And more importantly, it’s impractical. There’s really no practical way to implement the plan as-is.”
It might sound like Sununu is siding with liberals like Sen. Susan Collins, but his opposition isn’t based on the federal government not doing enough. It’s based on a principle as old as our nation: taxation without representation. What else do you call an unfunded mandate?
In the 1760’s, Britain taxed its colonies to pay for the French and Indian War, that nearly bankrupted London. It was a war about which the colonists themselves were mostly ambivalent, except those who stood to gain from royal land grants. Similarly, today, Obamacare’s prescription plans and Medicaid caused this huge spike in addiction. Democrats think the solution is more addiction and more money.
But Sununu realizes that the government can’t simply dump Medicaid on the states without dealing with the enormous health and societal issues related to addiction. That’s an unfunded mandate, and it’s as wrong as the Stamp Tax was.
Finally, if we plan to get serious about the opioid crisis, we must devote at least half as much—if not more—attention to prevention as we do to treatment and recovery.
Treatment and recovery—while important—are last ditch efforts, after-the-fact solutions, addressing the issues too late. We need to focus on stopping these problems before they start, especially knowing how high the rates of relapse are.
We know that prevention programs have worked in the past, whether they pertain to forest fires or drunk driving or, for that matter, the massive reduction in drug use we witnessed in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Such a prevention program for the opioid crisis must start with leadership from the White House in leading these conversations and highlighting the devastation of substance abuse initiation.
If the Senate is simply going to punt the problem back to states, it’s not going to get better. And the Democrats’ (and Sen. Collins, proto-Democrat) solution of simply keeping more Obamacare love around won’t fix it either.
Let’s see the White House and the Senate take some leadership here, or BCRA may be dead.