January 24, 2018

NYC Pursues Opioid Suit Despite ObamaCare’s Assist

Leftists are more interested in the money they can extract from frivolous lawsuits than they are in solving problems.

On Tuesday, eight major drug entities were sued by New York City for what Reuters describes as “fueling a deadly epidemic afflicting the most populous U.S. city.” According to Mayor Bill de Blasio, “Big Pharma helped to fuel this [overdose] epidemic by deceptively peddling these dangerous drugs and hooking millions of Americans in exchange for profit.” The city wants said corporations to hand over $500 million for the alleged misdeeds.

Meanwhile, on Jan. 17, a Senate report, titled “Drugs for Dollars: How Medicaid Helps Fuel the Opioid Epidemic,” suggested that ObamaCare is at least partially responsible for the worsening problem of drug addiction and overdoses. As Investor’s Business Daily explains, “The report, produced by the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee’s majority staff, provides convincing evidence that ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion is at least partly to blame for the recent opioid epidemic. The Senate report notes that those with a Medicaid card can get prescriptions for opioids, such as oxycodone, for as little as $1 for up to 240 pills. Those pills, however, can be sold on the street for up to $4,000.”

New York, you’ll recall, jumped at the opportunity to expand Medicaid. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, New York had a monthly Medicaid and CHIP enrollment average of 5,678,417 before ObamaCare went into effect. That has jumped by 13% since — to 6,438,706. Nationwide, ObamaCare caused Medicaid to swell by 13 million — boosting enrollment by more than a quarter.

The Senate report contains some persuasive statistics. As IBD notes, after ObamaCare went into effect, Medicaid fraud cases ballooned by more than half, and the overwhelming majority of Medicaid-opioid cases — 80% — occurred in states that implemented ObamaCare. Meanwhile, “Drug overdose death rates are rising ‘nearly twice as fast in expansion states as non-expansion states,’ the report finds.” This statistic is corroborated by Centers for Disease Control figures, which, according to IBD, indicate “that opioid overdose rates turned upward in 2014 — the year of the ObamaCare expansion.”

The opioid epidemic can’t singularly be blamed on ObamaCare, of course, but you also can’t convincingly argue that the law isn’t a contributing factor — perhaps a significant one. At the very least, this evidence underscores the importance of Medicaid work requirements, which states like New York are very reluctant to do. To be clear, pharmaceuticals share some of the blame, but if that’s the case, hospitals should be sued too. After all, some doctors hand out prescriptions like candy. And lest we forget, New York City is also suing oil companies, ostensibly for harming people with a product they consume every day. Leftist leaders are far more interested in the money they can extract from frivolous lawsuits than they are in solving problems.

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